COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota

COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota
(clockwise from top)
COVID-19 Cases in Minnesota by counties.svg
Number of cases per Minnesota county (enlarge image for legend)
COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota by counties.svg
Number of deaths per Minnesota county (enlarge image for legend)
Disease COVID-19
Virus strain SARS-CoV-2
Location Minnesota
First outbreak Grand Princess
Index case St. Paul
Arrival date March 6, 2020
Confirmed cases 24,200
Hospitalized cases 598 (current)
2,796 (cumulative)
Critical cases 260 (current)
Recovered 16,314
Deaths
1,036
Government website
Minnesota Department of Health

The COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota is part of an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state of Minnesota. The first confirmed case was reported on March 1, 2020.

Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency on March 13.[1]

Preparations

The Minnesota Department of Health began testing for the virus on January 20. During this time, no cases were positively tested in Minnesota. State health officials were monitoring for potential cases and making plans to contain future outbreaks.[3][4]

Mayo Clinic in Rochester began fast-tracking development of a test for the virus in mid-February.[3]

Timeline of outbreak

March

The first positive test was confirmed in the state. The patient had recently taken a Grand Princess cruise on a ship with a known case. The patient was an older adult from Ramsey County and had started having symptoms on February 25 and received medical care on March 5. They returned home to recover in isolation. Governor Tim Walz said "I'm confident that Minnesota is prepared for this."[5]

The second positive test in the state was confirmed in Carver County. A patient in their 50s began having symptoms on March 2 after likely being exposed while traveling in Europe in February. They sought medical care on March 7 and begin recovering at home in isolation.[6]

The third Minnesota patient was hospitalized in critical condition at an Anoka County hospital. The patient is in their 30s and had no obvious underlying conditions. They had developed symptoms on February 28 after being in contact with international travelers which likely exposed them to the virus. They were evaluated on March 3 and released at that time without being tested, which the Minnesota Department of Health had deemed "appropriate". They returned for medical services on March 9.[7] According to health officials there was no evidence the virus was being transmitted person to person in the state yet.[8]

A bill to set aside $20.8 million for Minnesota's coronavirus outbreak response is signed by Governor Walz. This money is in addition to the $4.6 million already in the account for public health response, totaling over $25 million.[9]

Five total cases in Minnesota have been confirmed. The fourth patient is in their 50s, in Olmsted County, and was diagnosed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. The fifth patient is in Ramsey County and in their 30s.[10]

The University of Minnesota announces the suspension of classes across all five campuses. The University will extend its spring break to two weeks, ending March 18, at which time classes will resume through online instruction. Online instruction will continue until at least April 1 including field experience and clinical. During this time, residence halls, dining services, and other student services will continue normal operation.[11]

Mayo Clinic also began "drive-through testing" for the virus, though patients still needed to be approved to be tested by telephone screening.[12]

Nine total cases are confirmed in Minnesota with the four new cases all considered to be travel-related. The new cases are reported in Hennepin, Dakota, and Stearns counties. All non-critical cases had begun recovering at home in isolation.[13] At this time, the Minnesota Department of Health did not recommend closing schools.[13]

14 total cases confirmed in Minnesota; the new cases are reported to be in Hennepin, Ramsey, Anoka, Dakota, Carver, and Wright counties. As of this date, more than 550 people have been tested for the virus in the state.[14]

Governor Walz declares a peacetime state of emergency. He says, "We are going into a heightened state of readiness to protect Minnesotans."[1]

21 total cases confirmed in Minnesota. Three people in Hennepin county tested positive, two of the patients are in their 60s and one in their 30s. A patient in their 30s is confirmed in Ramsey county. One patient in their 60s in Stearns, another in their 60s in Renville, and a teenager in Dakota county are also confirmed. All cases are connected to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. All seven patients begin recovering at home in self-isolation. 868 total tests have been conducted.[15]

35 total cases confirmed in Minnesota. The ages of the new patients range from 20 to 94 and are reported to be from Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, Olmsted, Waseca, and Washington counties. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health reports three of the new cases were exposed via community transmission.[15]

Governor Tim Walz announces the temporary closure of all Minnesota K-12 public schools from March 18 until March 27. He says, "My top priority as Governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I'm especially focused on the safety of our children."[16][17] During the school shutdown, meals and mental health services will still be provided to students in need.[18] Under the governor's order, schools will remain open for elementary-aged children of health care workers and other emergency workers.[19] Teachers will be using this time to plan for a possibility of weeks of long-distance learning.[20]

The Minnesota Legislature begins scaling back operations as the State House and Senate will be meeting on an on-call basis. For future meetings, they will be meeting in locations that allow for 6 feet between representatives.[21]

Governor Tim Walz announces in Executive Order 20-04 that all non-essential businesses close until March 27, 2020, citing the first confirmed case of community spread, detected the previous day, as his cause for this action.[22]

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announces that due to a national shortage of COVID-19 laboratory testing materials, the state is forced to make adjustments to its testing criteria to focus on the highest priority specimens, including hospitalized patients.[23]

Delivering surgical masks in Minnesota

Rochester Public Library (Minnesota) closed for the public[24]

The state confirms its first death due to the virus; the patient was from Ramsey County and was in their 80's. The patient had contracted the virus from a confirmed case.[25] Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan also confirms her brother died due to the coronavirus in Nashville, TN.[26]

A marquee at Brave New Workshop in downtown Minneapolis referencing coronavirus

The governor makes several announcements regarding the state's response to the virus:[citation needed]

  • A small business loan program would be made available for possibly 5000 businesses during the week for amounts between $2,500 and $35,000
  • All elective veterinary surgeries would be halted
  • The budget for the response to the virus would be revised, asking for an additional $365 million

The state has 235 positive total confirmed cases of the virus and 1 death.[27] The governor makes the announcement from quarantine; a member of his security staff tested positive for the virus. He said he is not experiencing any symptoms. The husband of Senator Amy Klobuchar is hospitalized due to the virus.[28]

The state announces a total of 287 confirmed cases of the virus, 26 of which required hospitalization. It is reported that the actual number of cases was likely at least 10 times higher than this number.[29]

Governor Tim Walz signs Executive Order 20-20. This order states that all people currently residing in Minnesota are to shelter in place beginning March 27, 2020 at 11:59PM through April 10, 2020 at 5:00PM.[30] Walz also signs executive orders 20-18 and 20–19. Executive order 20-18 extended the previous statewide closure of all non-essential businesses, which was due to end March 27, 2020, to remain closed until May 1, 2020.[31] Executive Order 20-19 extended school closures and a "Distance Learning Period" was ordered to begin in Minnesota from March 30, 2020 until May 4, 2020.[32]

April

Governor Tim Walz extended the Stay at Home (Executive Order 20–33) order until May 3 at 11:59 PM. He cited his reason for doing so due to the new data and new discoveries on about COVID-19 since the original order was put in place. He is also allowing hardware and garden shops to open so long as they follow all the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.[33]

Protestor at the Governor's Residence in St. Paul

During the early hours of the 17th, President Donald Trump tweeted "LIBERATE MINNESOTA" in reference to Governor Tim Walz's stay at home order.[34] Later that afternoon, several hundred citizens protested the order in front of the Governor's Residence in St. Paul. The protest was organized largely via Facebook by the Minnesota Gun Rights Caucus. Ben Dorr, a head member of the advocacy group, has repeatedly called for the state to reopen and has erroneously claimed that COVID-19 poses no greater threat to public health than the flu.[35] Dorr has two older brothers who are also gun-rights advocates. The three have used their collective social media presence to call for additional protests.

During his usual daily press conference, Governor Walz announced that it was now permitted for people to engage in various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and motor-boating so long as they maintained a safe and reasonable distance from other people. As well as allowing people to engage in various outdoor activities, he allowed golf courses and bait shops to open.[36] Walz stated these plans were conceptualized before the President's tweet and the civilian protest.

Today Governor Tim Walz Extended the stay at home order for Minnesota to Sunday May 17 at 11:59 PM. He stated that staying home is the most powerful weapon to "defeat" the virus and that "we must run the full marathon and not stop at mile 20". Furthermore, he is requiring certain personal to wear face masks and strongly urging the general public to do the same.[37]

May

The Minnesota State Fair was cancelled in response to the pandemic.[38]

Health experts warned that protests and riots over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis could lead to an increased risk of a surge in COVID-19 cases.[39]

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