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Community transmission of coronavirus likely statewide in Minnesota

No Minnesotan should have a false sense of safety, a state health official said.

State officials have launched a "Stay Home Minnesota" campaign that aims to get the point across to every Minnesotan how important staying home and practicing social distancing is during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kris Ehresmann of the Minnesota Department of Health said Friday afternoon that no one in Minnesota should feel that they are invincible to the invisible disease. 

"We really believe that we're having community transmission across the state," said Ehresmann. "People should not have a false sense of safety that it's only certain counties where this is happening. We really do believe we're seeing much more transmission than what our actual numbers are showing." 

The actual numbers show that 15 of the 115 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota contracted the virus through community transmission, meaning they don't have any recent travel history nor have an exposure to someone with the coronavirus. 

If community transmission is happening statewide, it means there are numerous people with the coronavirus who have not been tested for it. 

"If people who are sick continue to go to work and go out in public, they are undermining all we as a community are trying to accomplish," said Ehresmann. 

While the majority of the confirmed cases are in the 7-county metro area, there are confirmed cases in numerous greater Minnesota counties. Counties with confirmed cases, as of Friday's data, include: Anoka, Benton, Blue Earth, Carver, Chisago, Clay, Dakota, Filmore, Hennepin, Martin, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Ramsey, Renville, Rice, Scott, Stearns, Waseca, Washington, Wright. 

Gov. Tim Walz noted Friday that rural Minnesota is home to fewer healthcare facilities and an older population with higher-risk factors for the coronavirus to cause more significant effects. 

For all of those reasons, it's why the "Stay Home Minnesota" initiative is for everyone, not just the counties where the most confirmed cases currently exist. 

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