COVID-19 cases among Minnesota children and young people surged in June

COVID-19 cases among children and young people increased sharply in the month of June, the Minnesota Department of Health data says.

Both the 6-19 and 20-29 age demographics saw large increases between June 4 and July 2 compared to more modest increases among other age groups. 

Among children ages 6 to 19, 1,854 positive tests were reported June 4 which increased to 3,253 by July 2. That change is a 75 percent increase.

In the young adult demographic of 20-29-year-olds, 4,867 of them tested positive June 4. By July 2, 7,979 of them had tested positive, a 64 percent increase.

No deaths have been recorded in the ages 6-19 demographic, but two people ages 20-29 have died from COVID-19 since June 4.

COVID-19 demographic data from June 4, 2020. (Minnesota Department of Health)

COVID-19 demographic data from July 2, 2020. (Minnesota Department of Health)

The 64 and 75 percent increases are signficantly higher than other age demographics. 

Between June 4 and July 2:

  • Ages 30-39 - 38 percent increase
  • Ages 40-49 - 36 percent increase
  • Ages 50-59 - 33 percent increase
  • Ages 60-69 - 27 percent increase
  • Ages 70-79 - 24 percent increase

Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease expert at Abbott Northwestern, explains while a low percentage of kids end up with serious COVID-19 cases, they can easily spread it. 

"They spread it to older people," said Rhame. "If you let it spread in the community, it slops over. It doesn't stay in the age stratum. It slops over to the people who are really vulnerable." 

Experts think additional testing, even among asymptomatic people, may have led to the increase, but kids are socializing more and sports have picked back up. 

Rhame suggests socializing outdoors first and foremost. He also encouraged them to only hang around a core group of friends who are also being careful and try to keep them socially distancing to keep the number of cases down. 

Edina sees young person surge

Edina Mayor Tim Hovland said his city is dealing with a similar surge in COVID-19 cases among student athletes at Edina High School.

Early in the pandemic, Hovland said the city was averaging about two new cases a day and the median age of people getting infected was 57. Now, the city is averaging 13 new cases a day and the median age of people getting it has gone down to 20 years old. 

Edina Public Schools confirmed that about 20 student athletes have tested positive over the past week. While the source of the outbreak is unclear, the student athletes were all participating in summer camps representing nine sports. 

The events were all being held on Edina Public Schools property, but aren't necessarily Edina High School-sponsored activities.