(FOX 9) - Minnesota now has 60 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the state, according to state health officials.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that the state now has 60 cases of COVID-19, with 2,336 people tested. In a conference call Tuesday afternoon, the department said at least one health care worker is among those who tested positive. Hennepin Healthcare said that person is one of its staff members.
The counties with cases include Anoka, Benton, Blue Earth, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Renville, Stearns, Waseca, Washington and Wright counties. Benton County is the only new county with a confirmed case.
Officials said that some of the cases were a result of community transmission.
Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Friday, March 13 declaring a peacetime state of emergency. The governor and the health commissioner also announced a number of community mitigation strategies aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus in the state, urging people to cancel large gatherings and practice social distancing.
The governor ordered all bars and restaurants to close to dine-in customers starting Tuesday, March 17 at 5 p.m. until at least March 27. He also canceled school for at least two weeks starting Wednesday, March 18. to help combat the spread of the virus.
The World Health Organization has now declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. Minnesota health officials announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 6.
MINNESOTA CASES SO FAR
There are now cases reported in Anoka, Benton, Blue Earth, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Renville, Stearns, Waseca, Washington and Wright counties. A University of Minnesota student is one of the people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Hennepin County: 20+ cases
- Ramsey County: 6-20 cases
- Anoka County: 3-5 cases
- Dakota Couty: 3-5 cases
- Olmsted County: 3-5 cases
- Stearns County: 3-5 cases
- Benton County: 1-2 cases
- Blue Earth: 1-2 cases
- Carver County: 1-2 cases
- Renville County: 1-2 cases
- Waseca County: 1-2 cases
- Washington County: 1-2 cases
- Wright County: 1-2 cases
Officials say the patients range in age from 17-94.
There is now another hotline set up by the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Education. It is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and can be reached at 1-800-657-3504. In the metro, you can call 651-297-1304.
MDH said that if you are sick, stay home for at least seven days and at least three days without a fever (without fever-reducing medication.)
"People do not need to be tested for COVID-19 if they're in a situation where they'd be able to manage their symptoms at home; since there is no treatment for mild cases, there is no clinical decision that would be made based on the test result," MDH Director of Infectious Disease Kris Ehresmann said.
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K-12 SCHOOLS TEMPORARILY CLOSED
Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order closing all K-12 public schools in the state from Wednesday, March 18 to Friday, March 27 to slow the spread of COVID-19, although some schools have decided to close sooner.
The executive order requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to help those workers stay on the job and help fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The executive order also helps provide mental health services continuity and provides meals to students in need during the school closures.
BARS, RESTAURANTS CLOSED TO DINE-IN CUSTOMERS
Beginning Tuesday, March 17 at 5 p.m., all bars and restaurants in Minnesota will be closed to dine-in customers.
Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order shutting down bars and restaurants to dine-in customers, only allowing them to provide curbside or delivery services. The executive order also shutters theaters, museums, fitness centers and bowling alleys across the state.
“We need to stop congregating. We’re going to close the bars. We’re going to close the restaurants. We’re going to close the places where we gather,” Walz told reporters. “Understand, the magnitude of what we’re doing is not lost on any of us.”
The order is scheduled to end on March 27, but Walz said it is likely to be extended.
COLLEGES MOVE CLASSES ONLINE, STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS CANCELED
Colleges and universities in Minnesota have suspended in-person instruction and moved classes online.
The University of Minnesota is suspending in-person instruction for the rest of the semseter, including field experiences and clinicals, across its five campuses beginning Wednesday, March 18. Graduation ceremonies are also canceled.
The U of M suspended all study abroad programs as well. Students are required to return to the U.S. by Friday, March 20.
The University of St. Thomas moved all of its classes online starting Monday, March 16 until April 14, when students return from the Easter break.
Minnesota State suspended classes altogether for its colleges and universities for the next few weeks.
MINNESOTA SPORTS SEASONS CANCELED, SUSPENDED OR POSTPONED
Nearly all Minnesota’s sports teams are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The NBA, NHL and MLS suspended their seasons until further notice, meaning the Timberwolves, Wild and the Minnesota United will not be playing any more games anytime soon.
The Twins, who had not started their season yet, will get off to a late start. MLB postponed the start of the season until at least mid-May.
The Vikings suspended all travel for coaches and scouts until further notice, but the free agency is in full swing and the NFL Draft is still on for April 23.
The NCAA canceled all winter and spring sports, including March Madness. The move also means Gophers Football spring practice is over and there will be no Spring Game on April 4.
With schools closed, Minnesota State High School League activities and athletics are also on hold.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread. It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
The Minnesota Department of Health stressed the importance of all Minnesotans continuing to do those things that can limit the spread of the coronavirus:
- Stay home and away from others if you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
- Avoid touching your face throughout the day
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider immediately. For more information from the CDC, click here.
More information about coronavirus can be found on MDH’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website. MDH has set up a COVID-19 public hotline that is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The hotline number is 651-201-3920.