Winona County grapples with zooming COVID-19 community spread

WINONA, Minn. (WKBT) — Winona County’s COVID-19 tally of community spread cases increased the most since the beginning of the novel coronavirus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
The county reported 236 cases between Aug. 27 and Friday, with many cases afflicting people in the 18- to 24-age range.
The county’s total of 507 includes 271 females and 231 males, according to the Winona Public Health Department’s weekly report.
The case numbers by age group are:
• Up to 10 — six cases
• 11 to 18 — 27
• 19 to 24 — 261
• 25 to 29 — 26
• 30 to 39 — 40
• 40 to 49 — 27
• 50 to 59 — 42
• 60 to 69 — 23
• 70 to 79 — 23
• 80-plus — 32.
The Public Health Department urged heightened caution during the Labor Day weekend to use precautions to limit chances of being exposed to COVID-19, especially when frequenting bars, restaurants and social gatherings.
The Winona County Health and Human Services Department is working with the state Health Department to contain the spread.
A rash of cases was traced to Winona State University, where President Scott Olson acknowledged nearly 100 lab-confirmed cases in less than two weeks into the school year.
The school, where more than half of classes are online only, has instituted several safety protocols on campus beyond the normal wearing of face masks, he said.
WSU has set up tents on campus for teachers who want to convene classes outside, and nearly all residence hall rooms have been converted from doubles to doubles to singles, Olson said.
The school also is restricting outside visitors to residence halls.