Nov. 16 Covid update

The Lantern reports breaking news on the Covid 19 situation considering the State of Minnesota and Cannon Falls Schools

On Friday, November 13, the Cannon Falls School District’s COVID-19 advisory committee made the decision to transition both the elementary and high school to distance learning, effective November 30. This decision came shortly after the day the committee had decided to transfer the elementary school from full-time in-person learning to the hybrid model that the middle and high school had been following from the start of the school year. Tim Hodges, the principal of the high school, informed the students that this decision is here to stay for a while, stating, “We will be in distance learning through at least January 8. I know this is a huge disappointment for all of you and it is for your teachers as well. Hopefully, COVID infection numbers improve so we can be back in school.” On January 4, 2021, the COVID advisory committee will evaluate case numbers and decide if it is safe for students to be returning to school on January 8. Cohort 2 will have school on the week of November 16-20. On November 23 and 24, there will be no school for all students so that teachers can prepare for the transition to full-time distance learning. Starting Wednesday, November 25, all students will be full-time distance learning. There will be no sports and extracurricular activities from November 30 to January 11, 2021. In a letter to families of students, superintendent Jeff Sampson stressed that families should update the nurse with any COVID case information because the school will be tracking cases so that in January the committee can make an accurate decision on whether it is safe to go back to school. Meals for students will be available from 11 am-12 pm on the west side of the high school during days when there is scheduled distance learning.

We will be in distance learning through at least January 8”

— Principal Tim Hodges

Within ISD 252, there are 8 staff members and 80 students quarantining due to having close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. This includes 4 staff and 2 students that tested positive for COVID recently. There have been 5 total positive cases among the staff and 3 among students since September 8. With the decision to go to full-time distance learning, Sampson said, “Although we haven’t seen a lot of cases with the school staff or students, we do recognize that it is only a matter of time before we start having more and more cases within the school buildings.” The decision to switch to full-time distance learning was instead influenced by county, state, and country statistics, and all have seen rising case numbers. 

As of November 13, in Goodhue County, there are 245 active cases, which is a decrease of active cases since November 6, however, the total cases went from 930 to a total of 1,058 confirmed cases. There are 11 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 out of a total of 58 people who have needed to be hospitalized. 16 people have been admitted to the ICU and there have been 20 deaths in Goodhue County since the start of COVID. Minnesota has also been seeing an increase in cases.

On November 14 alone, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported 7,559 new positive cases out of Minnesota’s total of 223,581 cases since March. There were also 176 probable cases out of 2,621 total tests, which they find out by testing for antigens. On November 14, there were 31 newly reported deaths in Minnesota. There have been 2,861 cumulative deaths from confirmed cases and 44 from probable cases. 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that from November 8-15, 2020 there were 1,038,350 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,252 new deaths for the United States of America. There have been a total of 10,846,373 confirmed cases and 244,810 total deaths in the USA since January 21, 2020. This has been a large increase in case numbers and a smaller increase in deaths from the week of November 1-8.

In the Nov. 16 Governor’s press conference, amid 7,444 new cases, it was reported that people who have tested positive or have been in contact with someone testing positive will be notified by text before being notified by a contact tracer. Families are recommended to have only a handful of people together for Thanksgiving and reach out to extended family using the internet or cell phones. College students are recommended to stay on campus.