Parents urged to test their symptomatic children for COVID-19 following ‘troubling’ reports

Minnesota health officials are urging parents to get their children tested if they are showing COVID-19 symptoms. This comes after state health leaders say they have heard "troubling" reports of parents not testing their symptomatic children because they want in-person learning this fall and don't want to impact the metrics for reopening schools.

"These behaviors are exactly the wrong thing to do if we want to get the COVID pandemic in Minnesota under control to the point where more in-person learning is possible," said State Epidemiologist and Medical Director Ruth Lynfield.

Dr. Lynfield said while the reports appear to be anecdotal, the message is clear: those with symptoms or contact with a known case should get tested. If children are showing symptoms, even if they are mild, should not go to school, she said.

"The way out of this mess is clear, health officials and health care providers have their roles to play, so does every Minnesotan," said Dr. Lynfield.

Lynfield says studies are still being completed to understand the long-term effects of the coronavirus. In some cases, patients experienced damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain.

"COVID is not a totally benign infection," said Lynfield. "People ignoring protective recommendations are likely to prolong the outbreak, making it worse and making it more likely we will all have to deal with a longer period of impact on school and community institutions, businesses and our economy."

Among the best safety practices includes social distancing and wearing a mask. Governor Tim Walz instituted a statewide indoor mask mandate on July 25. Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says since the order went into effect there's been a "stabilization" in the data, but it is hard to pinpoint a direct correlation to the mandate. However, she says she believes wearing masks is a "helpful component" in reducing the spread of the virus.