Walz: COVID-19 on a 'frightening trajectory' in Minnesota

Gov. Tim Walz says the coronavirus is on a “frightening trajectory” in Minnesota and strongly hinted at new restrictions as soon as next week. 

Walz, state health commissioner Jan Malcolm and University of Minnesota epidemiologist Dr. Mike Osterholm shared a grim view of the virus during a Q&A with reporters broadcast across the state Friday afternoon.

The pandemic has worsened dramatically in the past week. Minnesota has reported 248 new deaths and more than 37,000 new cases in the past seven days. More than 1,400 people are now in the hospital, including 293 in intensive care.

Walz has imposed a 10 p.m. curfew at bars and restaurants starting Friday night, as well as new limits to the size of private gatherings. While hinting at a fresh round of restrictions next week, he twice declined to directly answer when asked to give people a heads-up about specifics.

"We haven't determined that yet," Walz told reporters. "I can’t give you a specific. But I think it’s clear that at this point with this infection rate, indoor activities with large numbers - especially 18 to 35 year olds - are certainly an area of concern."

Friday marked eight months since the first-term Democratic governor declared a state of emergency.

The state reported 46 additional deaths on Friday -- the second-most of any single day since the pandemic started. The new deaths included a 21-year-old with no known underlying health conditions, Malcolm said.

Now, with the virus surging as Thanksgiving approaches, Walz and Osterholm said they were concerned about family gatherings and urged people to do a virtual Thanksgiving this year.

"Please don’t feel like you have to be pressured into getting together for the holidays and creating a crisis," Osterholm said. "I just know that there are going to be far too many tragic situations that will evolve out of these holidays, and this is the year to think about the ultimate love of your family, which is to protect them." 

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