As an Edina executive order requiring masks in indoor public spaces took effect July 6, Mayor Jim Hovland announced a “significant increase of COVID-19 cases amongst our youngest residents” that is part of a recent spike in the city.
Out of the 381 laboratory-confirmed cases that had been tallied as of July 6, 140 of them had been recorded in the previous two weeks, Hovland said during his regular Mayor’s Minute talk, which streams online to inform Edina residents about the latest local developments regarding the novel coronavirus.
According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, between March 12 – when Edina’s first CVOID-19 case was confirmed – and June 24, the median age of those infected was 57, and Edina averaged two new cases per day. From June 25 to the morning of July 6, Edina averaged 13 new cases per day, while the median age of those infected dropped to 20.
“So we need our young people to be more careful about what they’re doing,” Hovland said.
Contact tracing conducted by public health officials showed that young people were exposed to the virus through house parties, cabin trips, bonfires and organized sports, Hovland noted. “Simply put, it’s just from socializing,” he said.
Hovland signed the executive order requiring masks indoors as a supplement to social distancing, which public health experts say is the most important precaution against the virus.
The mask requirement is set to last three days, but the Edina City Council plans to vote whether to extend it during a special meeting July 8.
The order requires that face coverings be worn in an “indoor space of public accommodation,” including retail establishments and city-owned buildings. Exemptions include Edina recreation facilities such as Braemar Ice Arena and Edinborough Park, where it is easier to follow social distancing guidelines.
The order made Edina the third Minnesota city, after Minneapolis and St. Paul, to require masks in publicly accessible indoor spaces. In a less stringent measure, Rochester last week enacted a policy requiring masks in city-owned facilities.
– Follow Andrew Wig on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent