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MDH: Eighth school staffer dies from COVID-19 this year

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, eight staffers and one student have died since the term began in September.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health says an eighth school staff member has died this school year from COVID-19 complications, matching the number of COVID deaths among school staff members during the entire 2020 academic session.

According to MDH's latest data, eight staffers and one student have died since the term began in September. In total, 16 staffers and two students have died from COVID since the pandemic began.

“School buildings should be a safe place for students to learn and educators to work, which makes every death related to COVID-19 in schools that much more tragic,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “Minnesotans need to come together to do everything we can to slow the spread of this virus so all our students can get back to doing the activities they love and educators can refocus on teaching.”

As of Thursday afternoon, MDH reported 43 new COVID deaths in the state and 5,123 new cases. The cumulative total COVID cases in Minnesota is now at 836,787 since the start of the pandemic.

Officials warn the spike in cases has them concerned, especially as holiday gatherings approach. They say people's waning immunity to the virus could be a factor, as more and more people reach the six-month threshold of vaccination. 

A total of 7,232,883 doses of vaccine have been administered to date in Minnesota, with 3,309,462 people having completed the full series.