Latest on COVID-19 in Minnesota: 1st workweek of stay-home order begins

Published 9:35 am Monday, March 30, 2020

More than half of Minnesota’s counties, urban and rural alike, now have confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the state moves into its first workweek of stay-at-home orders.

Here are the latest coronavirus statistics from Sunday afternoon:

Nine deaths from COVID-19
•503 cases confirmed via 17,657 tests
•45 counties have confirmed cases
•16 people being treated in intensive care units (ICUs)
•More than 30 confirmed cases in “congregate care” facilities, such as assisted-living facilities
•252 people who had COVID-19 have recovered and no longer require isolation

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Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home executive order went into effect over the weekend and will remain in place until April 10. It’s a ramping up of social distancing measures that had already been in place, and states that all people who can work from home should do so.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported that statewide, traffic volumes were down 30 percent on Friday and 55 percent on Saturday, compared to the same time last year. Saturday’s traffic volume in the Twin Cities metro area was down 59 percent.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm told reporters Sunday that the effects of the governor’s order will take time to play out.

“We’d be hoping to maybe get some indication of (its effects) in the next week to 10 days as we can try to compare what looked to have been the trends and the rates of increase, and whether that is slowing down a bit. That’s our hope,” she said.

Meanwhile, Malcolm said the state’s long-term care facilities remain a primary concern amid the coronavirus outbreak. Officials said seven of the nine deaths in Minnesota so far have been residents of those care facilities.

Malcolm said providers are very conscious of the danger to residents of nursing homes and other group living facilities after outbreaks in Washington state. She said health officials consider even one case in a facility serious, and have a stepped-up response.

“There’s a team of epidemiologists that immediately works with that facility and a nurse case manager who checks in with that facility multiple times a day,” she said. “There’s a testing regimen for testing not only the people immediately around the resident or staff member, but kind of in concentric circles around that, so we do do expanded testing in those facilities.”

Malcolm said that so far, 21 residents and 11 workers have tested positive for COVID-19 in more than two dozen group-care facilities in the state.

On Friday, state emergency management director Joe Kelly asked Minnesotans not to call 911 with general coronavirus questions and instead contact the state hotline at (651) 201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Some 911 centers were being inundated with coronavirus calls, he said.