St. Paul declares local emergency over coronavirus pandemic

As cases rise and schools close, the City of St. Paul is declaring an emergency over the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The declaration by Mayor Melvin Carter follows Governor Walz' executive order on Friday that declared a state of emergency for the State of Minnesota.

Under the St. Paul emergency, the city will close all libraries, parks, and recreation facilities. The city is also suspending all permits for gatherings of 50 people or more, following new guidance from the CDC.

Evictions and water shutoffs are also being suspended in St. Paul during the emergency.

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Friday 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

Sunday, the governor announced the state would cancel school for nearly two weeks starting Wednesday 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.

MDH reports 1,422 people have been tested for the coronavirus so far. 


There are now cases reported in Anoka, 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. 

Sunday, there were six new cases in Hennepin County reported, four in Ramsey County and one each in Olmsted, Waseca, Washington and Dakota counties. 

The ages of Sunday's new cases were 20, 54, 23, 40 , 53 , 94 , 42 , 58 , 20 , 31, 29, 22, 28 and 31. 

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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.