Bishops bless Twin Cities nursing homes as COVID-19 death toll climbs

The death toll from the coronavirus continues to rise across the state, while testing capacity grows and more nursing homes are confirming cases.

On Saturday alone, Minnesota reported 24 new COVID-19 deaths, with 21 of them being long-term care residents.

On Saturday, bishops worked to bring comfort to nursing home residents, offering blessings at some of the hardest-hit facilities, including Saint Therese of New Hope.

With nearly 50 deaths reported and 130 residents testing positive as of this week, the archbishop stopped by to pray for those fighting this virus inside.

"It’s a way in which we're able to unite the members of those five communities so nobody stands alone at this time," said Archbishop Bernard Hebda.

Hebda gave a blessing over the staff and residents, and their families. Saint Therese of New Hope was the first of the five stops on Saturday afternoon.

"We wanted them to know they’re not alone," said Bishop Andrew Cozzens. "Many, many people are caring for them and praying for them and hopefully that can lift their hearts inside in spite of the difficulty that they're in."

As of now, statewide, there are roughly 20 long-term care facilities with more than ten positive COVID-19 cases.

"It's not everyone, but for those buildings that have a significant number, it’s a big challenge," said CEO of Care Providers of Minnesota Patty Cullen. "We know that there are shared spaces, and we know that we serve frail seniors."

Seniors, like Jane Juaire, who say the last few months have been tough but this was just what they needed.

"It was great," said Juaire. "It was just great so nice. I didn’t realize that this is what it was going to be and it was so great."