The Minnesota governor is announcing a plan to help communities fight the spread of COVID-19 around the state.
Gov. Tim Walz held a news conference at the state capitol Friday with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Commissioner Jan Malcolm. They are announcing "community mitigation" strategies for Minnesotans, and Walz has declared a peacetime state of emergency.
On Friday, the MDH announced that there are now 14 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in the state. The counties affected so far are Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Stearns and Wright.
Wisconsin has also announced a total of seven cases, with one positive case listed as "recovered."
As part of the community mitigation strategy, the MDH is recommending postponing or canceling:
- Large events where 250 people or more would gather, including but not limited to:
- Professional, college, and school performances or sporting events.
- Smaller events (fewer than 250 people) that are held in venues that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person.
- This includes gatherings in crowded auditoriums, rooms or other venues.
- Events with more than 10 people where the majority of participants are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including gatherings such as those at:
- Retirement facilities.
- Assisted living facilities.
- Developmental homes.
- Support groups for people with health conditions.
MDH is also recommending:
- People and families at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness staying at home and avoiding gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel.
- Employers making telework arrangements for workers whose duties can be done remotely.
- Employers staggering work schedules and limiting non-essential work travel.
- Health care facilities and assisted-living facilities more strictly limiting visitors.
- Faith-based organizations offering video or audio events.
- Hospitals and other health care facilities implementing triage before entering facilities (for example, parking lot triage, phone triage, and telemedicine to limit unnecessary visits).
The full plan of action is available online.
The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920. The hotline will be open weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this week (March 9-13).
MDH maintains a regularly updated webpage with "Situation Updates," including the status of "persons under investigation" who are being tested. MDH also has a larger COVID-19 coronavirus information page, with links to additional facts and resources about coronavirus.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also keeps this page updated with numbers of tested cases, and those that tested positive, along with more information for Wisconsin residents.
Minnesota has issued some "social distancing" guidelines for schools as well, but did not recommend schools closing as of March 13.