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Minnesota officials ask families to get tested every 2 weeks

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota public health officials are asking families to get tested for the coronavirus every two weeks from now until the end of the school year, in an effort to limit impact of the disease.

The state Department of Health Campaign announced Wednesday is reaching out to families, health professionals, schools and youth organizations to help encourage regular COVID-19 testing.

“Over the past few months, the number of students attending in-person classes has significantly increased, with thousands more expected to return to the classroom in coming weeks,” Health Department Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said, adding that many people will be resuming sports and other activities. “To protect this progress, we need to use all the tools at our disposal.”

Of Minnesota’s 480,845 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 80,417 have been in those under the age of 20, or about 17% of all cases.

The state is also beefing up vaccination plans for older residents. Teddy Tschann, spokesman for Gov. Tim Walz, said the governor plans to outline a proposal Thursday to vaccinate at least 70% of Minnesotans aged 65 and older by the end of March, before expanding eligibility to other groups.

State health officials on Wednesday confirmed 761 new cases and nine new deaths due to the coronavirus.