MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — The Salvation Army says 20 of its staff members from Minnesota and North Dakota tested positive for the coronavirus after 62 people attended a recent conference in northern Minnesota.
“Despite adherence to the health guidance, we fully acknowledge that COVID-19 is formidable and highly contagious,” Salvation Army spokesman Dan Furry said in a statement Tuesday, the Star Tribune reported.
Of the 20 infected people who attended the conference in Finlayson, none were hospitalized, he said, and the Salvation Army was still awaiting results from some attendees of the Oct. 6-8 event. The nonprofit shut down its Roseville headquarters as a precaution, boosted cleanings of its sites and quarantined all conference attendees, he said.
The outbreak comes at a time when the state is experiencing widespread transmission of the coronavirus, with 1,120 new cases reported Tuesday — the 13th consecutive day that case counts had topped 1,000.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm has been noting recently that growth in cases has been increasing in September into October, something that’s especially concerning as the state moves into the winter season.
“This is a big change. For the first time we’re seeing faster growth in cases than in testing. Despite our impressively high test numbers, we’re still not able to catch the disease that’s out there. The case growth is faster than testing growth,” she said during a COVID-19 update.
MDH expects testing capacity to jump to 60,000 a day once saliva testing sites start to open.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press also reported Wednesday that Minnesota state employees who’ve been working from home during the pandemic were informed this week that they’ll most likely continue telecommuting at least through the end of the school year in June. The decision affects about half of the roughly 56,000 state workers who currently work from home.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)