Experts link thousands of Minnesota COVID-19 cases to sports

The Edina girls hockey team. (FOX 9)

Minnesota health officials say they have connected more than 3,400 COVID-19 cases to sports, requiring 7,000 households to isolate.

In a news conference Monday, state infectious disease expert Kris Ehresmann said 593 of those cases have been traced to high school athletes and 309 more have been traced to middle school athletes.

The state has confirmed two outbreaks among athletes in high school volleyball and soccer. The department is investigating eight other suspected outbreaks linked to sports as well. Those suspected outbreaks are from elementary school-aged dance, two from high school volleyball, one from high school dance, one from high school hockey, one college-level sport and two adult club sports.

“We’re continuing to see evidence of transmission related to sports,” Ehresmann said Monday.

MORE: An update on the COVID-19 situation in Minnesota

“When you have that degree of community spread, it just keeps it harder and harder to keep the infection out of these important settings that we’re trying hard to protect,” said Minnesota Department of Health Director Jan Malcolm.

Malcolm said it’s the sports games themselves spreading the virus, but also the ancillary activities that go along with athletics.