2 march25cases confirmed

Minnesota’s coronavirus status (March 25, 2020)


Walz orders shelter in place

The Minnesota Department of Health announced 25 new positive cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, March 25, for a total of 287 confirmed cases across the state and one death. Cases range from six months to 94 years old. Approximately 6,365 patients have been tested at the MDH Public Health Lab since Jan. 20, 2020, and approximately 5,110 have been tested at external laboratories.
Gov. Tim Walz doubled down today on his administration’s coronavirus response with a two-week stay-at-home order as he asked Minnesotans not to leave their homes unless absolutely needed.
The most significant measure to date is meant to build off previous novel coronavirus-related executive orders to keep social distancing and continue with the closure of bars, restaurants and other public spaces. The order also allows the Minnesota Department of Education to implement a distant learning period starting March 30 and ending May 4.
“We’re asking you, because it’s going to take coordination and cooperation, stay home,” Walz said to Minnesotans Wednesday via livestream as he continues with self-quarantine.
The stay-at-home order does not mean everybody in the state of Minnesota will be reduced to their homes indefinitely, but for at least two weeks, it is meant to be a strict action to further encourage extreme social distancing and keep homeowners in place as much as possible while also suspending large gatherings.
While still practicing social distancing, Walz listed various reasons that Minnesotans can still leave their homes: health and safety activities, outdoor activities, retrieving necessary supplies and services, essential and interstate travel, care of others, displacement and relocation to ensure safety.
“If I put on shelter-in-place indefinitely, what that would do is buy time, but it would not reduce the infection rates that would eventually be coming,” Walz said.
He said the goal at this point is to buy time to increase supplies and intensive care unit beds available in the state, not necessarily to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Walz presented data that showed the reduction in person-to-person contact by percentage for varying levels of intervention. Through significant mitigation, a level of intervention that includes shelter-at-home, person-to-person contact is reduced by 80%. Followed by physical distancing, which Walz said Minnesotans have been excelling in compared to other states, it creates a reduction of 50%, which if then followed by physical distancing, creates a reduction of 70%.
The list of essential workers exempt from the stay-at-home order includes employees in the fields of public health, law enforcement and public safety, childcare, food and agriculture, news media, water and wastewater, energy and critical manufacturing. Though not a comprehensive list, Walz said these are workers who provide critical services to the people of Minnesota, but also acknowledged other fields not considered essential services but are still vital to Minnesota’s economy.
“The attempt here is to strike a proper balance of making sure that our economy can function, we protect the most vulnerable, we slow the rate to buy us time and build out our capacity to deal with this,” Walz said.
Significant mitigation measures produce more favorable outcomes to extend the amount of time it takes to reach the peak of the epidemic in Minnesota. Through the actions Walz signed today, which are effective Friday at 11:59 p.m., the time to peak epidemic extends to 14 weeks as opposed to nine weeks if no mitigation actions were taken.
If the action is successful and extends peak infection rates out to 14 weeks, it will give the state government time to build out hospital capacity, increase testing and bolster the state’s supply of life-saving equipment, like ventilators and personal protective equipment.
“If you get sick and if you need hospitalization and if you need an (intensive care unit bed) and if that ICU is available and with a ventilator and all the things you need, you have a 10 times greater chance of surviving this,” Walz said, emphasizing the importance of ensuring the state does not reach maximum ICU capacity.
Minnesota currently has 235 ICU beds available, but Walz said with more time, the state can work to convert gyms, hotels and stadiums into ICU facilities.
There are currently approximately 26 hospitalizations related to the coronavirus.
“I’m asking for your patience, your cooperation and your understanding,” Walz said. “Minnesota is as well prepared as any state to handle this.”

Counties with cases include (and number of confirmed cases*):
  • Anoka (7)
  • Benton (1)
  • Big Stone (1)
  • Blue Earth (5)
  • Carver (8)
  • Cass (1)
  • Chisago (2)
  • Clay (3) 
  • Dakota (21) 
  • Dodge (3)
  • Fillmore (3)
  • Hennepin (111) 
  • Martin (10)
  • Mower (6)
  • Nicollet (3)
  • Olmsted (21)
  • Ramsey (27) 
  • Renville (1) 
  • Rice (2)
  • Scott (6)
  • Sherburne (1)
  • St. Louis (3) 
  • Stearns (5)
  • Steele (5) 
  • Wabasha (3)
  • Waseca (1)
  • Washington (13)
  • Winona (2)
  • Wright (3)
*The data may not equal the total number of reported cases, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 

 
Covid 19 flyer
2 cases confirmedmarch24

Minnesota’s coronavirus status (March 24, 2020)

The Minnesota Department of Health announced 27 new lab tested positive cases of COVID-19 March 24, for a total of 262 confirmed cases across the state and one death. Approximately 5,812 patients have been tested at the MDH Public Health Lab since Jan. 20, 2020.
With no new executive orders issued today, Gov. Tim Walz offered reassurance that Minnesota is responding well to the coronavirus pandemic thus far. He said he will be extending restaurant, bars and school closings past what he originally earmarked, though he has not officially taken steps to do so yet.
“What we have done so far is working,” Walz said. “We have to see what the next step is.”
Walz again emphasized the importance of reducing the spread of COVID-19 as to not overwhelm the healthcare system and expanding medical capacity, which work in tandem with each other.
Social distancing and business closings have quantifiably helped reduce the amount of infections while MDH works to increase the amount of supplies and intensive care unit beds available, Walz said.
“The good news on this is social distancing does work,” Walz said. “Minnesotans seem to be following that.”
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm and Walz also mentioned the number of cases are going to keep increasing as testing availability starts meeting demand.
“Some of that represents an undercount – it is an undercount,” Malcolm said, explaining that as more people are able to access tests, more people will test positive.
But,for the foreseeable future, Minnesotans need to be prepared for ever-changing responses to combat the expedient spread of the virus, Walz said.
“If and when we start to make changes, and we will, (the public) needs to understand this is fluid and moving,” Walz said, referring to even more restrictive measures yet to be implemented.
           
Counties with cases include (and number of confirmed cases*):
  • Anoka (7)
  • Benton (1)
  • Big Stone (1)
  • Blue Earth (5)
  • Carver (8)
  • Cass (1)
  • Chisago (2)
  • Clay (3) 
  • Dakota (21) 
  • Fillmore (3)
  • Hennepin (103) 
  • Martin (8)
  • Mower (6)
  • Nicollet (3)
  • Olmsted (18)
  • Ramsey (24) 
  • Renville (1) 
  • Rice (2)
  • Scott (5)
  • Sherburne (1)
  • St. Louis (2) 
  • Stearns (5)
  • Steele (5) 
  • Wabasha (1)
  • Waseca (1)
  • Washington (10)
  • Wright (3) 
*The data may not equal the total number of reported cases, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. 
2 cases confirmedmarch23

Minnesota’s coronavirus status (March 23, 2020)

The Minnesota Department of Health announced 66 new lab tested confirmed positive cases March 23, for a total of 235 confirmed cases across the state since Jan. 20, 2020.
Today, Gov. Tim Walz signed two executive orders aimed at supporting the working class: emergency loan availability for small businesses suffering from economic fallout and the temporary suspension of evictions.
Walz also signed orders postponing all elective surgeries and procedures, even in veterinary clinics, and ordered non-medical companies across the state to search through inventories to find personal protective equipment, like N95 masks and respirators, that are in critically short supply. He also reallocated $356 million from the 2020 budget toward COVID-19 response efforts.
 Walz said he encourages all small businesses to apply for federal loans through the Small Business Administration but noted people would not be receiving checks soon enough, prompting the establishment of the emergency loan program through the state for more immediate assistance.
The program will make $30 million available from the state, allowing small businesses in Minnesota to apply for loan amounts between $2,500 to $35,000. Additionally, the order allows cities and counties access to their own revolving loan funds for discretionary loans to local businesses.
Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said small businesses can be impacted the most negatively in recessions, so making loans available to small businesses is important to keep them afloat.
            Walz did not issue a shelter-in-place order, even as governors in Wisconsin and Illinois have over the last week. He said the restrictive measure is not yet warranted given the modeling and available data, but said the state could soon follow suit.
           
Counties with cases include (and number of confirmed cases*):
  • Anoka (7)
  • Benton (1)
  • Big Stone (1)
  • Blue Earth (5)
  • Carver (8)
  • Cass (1)
  • Chisago (2)
  • Clay (2)
  • Dakota (18)
  • Fillmore (3)
  • Hennepin (89) 
  • Martin (8)
  • Mower (6)
  • Nicollet (3)
  • Olmsted (16)
  • Ramsey (24)
  • Renville (1)
  • Rice (2)
  • Scott (5)
  • Sherburne (1)
  • Stearns (5)
  • Steele (3)
  • Wabasha (1)
  • Waseca (2)
  • Washington (10)
  • Wright (3)
*The data may not equal the total number of reported cases, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Cases confirmedmarch21

Minnesota’s coronavirus status (March 21, 2020)

One death has been confirmed as being connected to the coronavirus in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, this individual was a Ramsey County resident in their 80s who tested positive for the virus and was in contact with an earlier confirmed case of an individual who was known for frequent international travel.
                  Across the state, there are now 137 lab tested confirmed cases of COVID-19; 23 new cases were confirmed March 21. In total, the state has processed 4,090 tests since Jan. 20. 
                  “We do believe there are more cases in Minnesota circulating in communities across the state,” MDH Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said. “What we’re seeing is a general shift to more and more community transmission. We cannot emphasize enough taking heed of community mitigation measures.”          
                  Since the start of the outbreak, 12 patients have been hospitalized with six remaining in the hospital and four of those in the intensive care unit.
                  “The rest of those patients previously hospitalized and reported cases are recovering at home,” Ehresmann said.       
                  Additionally, the demographics of lab tested confirmed cases is vast. They range in age from 10 to 94 with a median age of 44. Of those, 82 are male and 57 are female.
                  Ehresmann said the child is homeschooled.
                  The state has not been put in a shelter-in-place at this time, where residents need to remain at home. Rather, officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing and not gathering in groups larger than 10.
                  “We are looking to build additional surveillance methods and models to estimate the total burden of the disease in Minnesota,” Ehresmann said.
                  One way the department is further monitoring the spread of the virus is by reviewing influenza, specifically reported influenza like illnesses.
                  “We saw this report spike when there was a wave of influenza A earlier this year, then the wave of influenza B,” Ehresmann said. “We’re seeing it again now and we believe it is COVID-19.”
                  This virus does spread by direct person-to-person droplet transmission, which is why keeping a 6-foot distance between people is critical. Also, anyone with respiratory symptoms needs to remain self-quarantined, regardless if they have been tested for COVID-19 or not.
                  “We don’t anticipate the number of cases slowing down,” Ehresmann said. “Although, because of all the mitigation efforts, it should be slower than what would happen without it.”

Counties with cases include (and number of confirmed cases):
  • Anoka (5)
  • Benton (1)
  • Blue Earth (3)
  • Carver (3)
  • Chisago (1)
  • Clay (1)
  • Dakota (7)
  • Dodge (1)
  • Fillmore (2)
  • Hennepin (52)
  • Jackson (1) 
  • Martin (5)
  • Mower (3)
  • Nicollet (2)
  • Olmsted (12)
  • Ramsey (17)
  • Renville (1)
  • Rice (1)
  • Scott (2)
  • Stearns (4)
  • St. Louis (1)
  • Steele (2)
  • Wabasha (1)
  • Waseca (1)
  • Washington (4)
  • Wright (3)
Cases confirmed

Minnesota’s coronavirus status (March 20, 2020)

The Minnesota Department of Health announced 26 new positive cases of COVID-19 Friday, March 20, for a total of 115 confirmed cases across the state.  Approximately 3,856 patients have been tested at the MDH Public Health Lab since Jan. 20, 2020.
Governor Tim Walz issued three executive orders March 20, protecting against price gouging on necessary goods and loosening some requirements for Minnesotans to access Department of Human Services programs in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
While not yet issuing a shelter-in-place order, Walz said he is still considering whether Minnesotans will need to take as drastic measures as seen in other parts of the country, like California. He said the situation changes drastically every day, and there is not a hard-and-fast metric to follow before calling for a shelter-in-place order.
“What I can assure Minnesotans is we’re looking at the data,” Walz said. “We are trying to get it as transparently and as real time out to you, making the best-informed decisions that will have an impact on flattening the curve.”
Hennepin, Ramsey, Chisago, Fillmore, Olmsted, Martin, Scott and Rice counties each had new cases, with two in intensive care units. The Minnesota Department of Health erred in reporting Wadena County as having a confirmed case, while Clay County was not included on the March 19 list of new cases.
“We have evidence of community transmission in Minnesota,” Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said. “This means that COVID-19 is circulating in all of our communities.”
She also said even if measures taken by the state seem extreme, they are designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But, if people who are sick continue to go to work and go out in public, they are undermining everything communities across the state are trying to accomplish.
            Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove said there have been a record 91,866 new unemployment insurance applications received between Monday and Thursday – an indicator COVID-19 is impacting Minnesotans economically.
                       
Counties with cases include (and number of confirmed cases):
  • Anoka (5)
  • Benton (1)
  • Blue Earth (2)
  • Carver (3)
  • Chisago (1)
  • Clay (1)
  • Dakota (8)
  • Fillmore (2)
  • Hennepin (45) 
  • Martin (4)
  • Mower (1)
  • Nicollet (2)
  • Olmsted (11)
  • Ramsey (16)
  • Renville (1)
  • Rice (1)
  • Scott (2)
  • Stearns (3)
  • Waseca (1)
  • Washington (3)
Wright (2)
Covid graph

Minnesota’s coronavirus status (March 19, 2020)

The Minnesota Department of Health announced 12 new positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday, March 19, for a total of 89 confirmed cases across the state.  Approximately 3,038 patients have been tested at the MDH Public Health Lab since Jan. 20, 2020.
Since the start of the outbreak, seven patients were hospitalized with four remaining, one of which is in critical condition. MDH reported cases range from 17 to 94 years of age, with the median age of 49 years. No deaths have been reported in Minnesota.
            “Looking at the overall picture, globally, data shows the vast majority of cases are mild,” said Kris Ehresmann, MDH Infectious Disease Division Director. “We’re seeing similar data in Minnesota.”    
            It is important to note cases in four Minnesota counties have been confirmed as community transmission
            “Because we have community transmission, we know there is much more COVID-19 activity that is occurring in the state of Minnesota,” Ehresmann said. “We believe it is widespread and those 89 confirmed cases are just the tip of the iceberg.”

Counties with cases include (and number of confirmed cases):
  • Anoka (6)
  • Benton (1)
  • Blue Earth (2)
  • Carver (3)
  • Dakota (8)
  • Hennepin (32)
  • Martin (3)
  • Mower (1)
  • Nicollet (2)
  • Olmsted (6)
  • Ramsey (12)
  • Renville (1)
  • Rice (1)
  • Scott (1)
  • Stearns (3)
  • Wadena (1)
  • Waseca (1)
  • Washington (3)
  • Wright (2)
Cdc economist curve graphic
Responding to COVID-19, Benton County approves disaster declaration

County has first confirmed coronavirus case

By Jakob Kounkel
            FOLEY – Benton County commissioners approved a disaster declaration at its board meeting March 17 in response to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. The first case was confirmed in the county March 15.
            Commissioners also voted to temporarily close its Department of Motor Vehicles, which saw more than 1,000 customers in the last two weeks; waived its remote work policies; discussed furloughing the least violent offenders in the Benton County Jail system; and discussed temporarily cutting services from the human services department.
“Anyone released from jail will be a non-violent, low-risk offender,” Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck said.
            Benton County Public Health Supervisor Nicole Ruhoff told the Benton County Board that the person who tested positive for the coronavirus is in their 50s and at home in isolation. The person had an affiliation with Foley Public Schools, prompting the school to district to close its doors to students until further notice.
Heck said the first and only confirmed case in Benton County resulted in other individuals, who are high to medium risk of having contracted the virus, to be tested too. Ruhoff said the Minnesota Department of Health is in contact with the at-risk people, getting recommendations for testing and quarantine.
            Ruhoff said Gov. Tim Walz’s move to close bars, restaurants, health clubs and entertainment venues March 16 was an effort to “flatten the curve” — a reference to a now widely-spread graphic stemming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the contrast between the results of taking preventative measures and not. According to the graph, if successful preventative measures are taken it will expand the amount of time the virus spreads to the population, but will not overwhelm the health care system’s capacity.
            Ruhoff compared the nation’s response of flattening the curve to the influx of customers buying things like toilet paper, bottled water and non-perishable food. When everybody is rushing to purchase goods at the same time, she said, stores are unable to keep up with demand. Flattening the curve is about keeping enough beds open so the health care system can handle demand.
            Ruhoff also said there are too many tests being administered for the state to keep up with, so she is unable to know how many people are being tested here. The MDH only updates the county if a new case is confirmed.
            “This is snowballing everyday,” said James McDermott, director of Benton County Emergency Management, while criticizing media response as inciting undue hysteria and encouraging people to look to the positives.
            McDermott said the disaster declaration allows for different arms of the county to work together. McDermott, serving as the director, is responsible for getting everybody in the county to “sing on the same sheet of music.”
            “(The disaster declaration) gives our staff some flexibility in extraordinary times,” said Spencer Buerkle, Benton County Commissioner and board chair.
            For the most updated information regarding the novel coronavirus locally, the Benton County Public Health Facebook account is being updated regularly, and a local hotline number was established to answer questions. Stearns and Benton counties established the joint hotline, which is staffed by public health professionals.
            The hotline number is 320-656-6625 or 1-877-782-5683 and is answered between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Individuals can also call the MDH hotline, which is staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days per week, at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903. MDH also set up a hotline for those with questions about school and child care: 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504, staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.