Coronavirus: Walz talks State Fair, confidence in outbreak model

The State Fair is set to begin in 153 days (as of Thursday).
Publish date:

The Minnesota State Fair is set to begin in 153 days. According to model data revealed this week by Gov. Tim Walz, that could be right around the peak of the Sars-CoV-2 outbreak in Minnesota. 

Will the State Fair be the next big Minnesota event postponed or canceled by the COVID-19 outbreak?

"It's probably too early," said Walz when asked if he was thinking about it. "Our hope would be that we're seeing the turn, but we're going to have to make those decisions based on the situation. We can't allow dates to drive us, we're going to have to allow outcomes of this and work that we've done will change that.

"At this point in time we have not given that any thought. It would be my hope that by the time we get to that point we've got a handle on this thing."

Little explanation has been provided about projections Walz released Wednesday, but the charts suggest there could be 60,000 Minnesotans in need of hospital care all at once around the 150-day mark of the outbreak. For context, today (Thursday) is Day 5 in the model. 

Screen Shot 2020-03-25 at 4.05.02 PM

Only three reporters were able to get questions to the governor during Thursday's conference call, but Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said variables will determine when and how explosive the outbreak is. 

Those variables include how many ICU beds and ventilators can be added to hospitals, contact rates between people, and how transmissible the virus is in America. 

"We know that directionally, the model holds up very strongly. The major variables that change – that will change the outcomes – are the amount of critical care capacity in the state (ICU beds, ventilators, staffing)," said Malcolm. 

"We know that for someone who needs that level of care, if they're able to get that level of care their survival rate is 10 times better than if they need the care and can't get it. There's virtually no chance of surviving if the care isn't available for those critically ill patients." 

Walz reiterated that he wouldn't have shared the models with Minnesotas if he didn't have confidence in them. 

"The confidence level from me to go on what we had was good enough," the governor said. "We did have a discussion on how much do you share when assumptions are being made? 

"We certainly want to give people the proper amount of understanding of what we're up against without creating a false sense of security or a false sense of fear. That is one of the things that I think we need to refine," he continued. "I do feel a sense of confidence that this is showing a pattern and a potential way to reduce the deaths."

Next Up

Gary Kubiak

Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announces retirement

Kubiak wraps up a career that has spanned nearly four decades.


Minneapolis police seeks public help finding missing woman

A 63-year-old woman has been missing since Tuesday

coronavirus testing

Don't want to talk to a contact tracer? MN debuts online option after positive test

The department says the survey will allow its staff to keep track of more cases at a faster pace

Family Dollar

Money Gal Coaching: 12 things you are wasting your money on

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

police lights

Three teens charged in Minneapolis robberies

The incidents took place on Saturday in Minneapolis.

covid-19, coronavirus, ppe

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, January 21

It's the first time in exactly four months that Minnesota has had fewer than 100 COVID patients in intensive care.

icy roads, bad roads

Girl, 16, killed in crash with semi on icy Minnesota road

The crash happened in Dodge County around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

police lights

Road rage incident sees driver punch out man's window, punch him in face

The incident happened in Waite Park Wednesday morning.

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 7.01.24 AM

Minneapolis will recover $100K in costs connected to 2019 Trump rally

The Target Center operator said it'll pay the costs over three years.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey confirms run for reelection

He has faced criticism over the city's response to George Floyd's death.


Tim Walz

Walz: 'Not taking these actions will result in the deaths of Minnesotans'

He's adamant that imposing a 'Stay at Home' order is the right move.

coronavirus, covid-19, shelter-in-place, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

Reports: Walz set to issue 'shelter-in-place' order for Minnesota

Walz is set to address the state at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

coronavirus, covid-19, doctor

Coronavirus: Big differences in Minnesota model, national model

Minnesota leaders are confident in the model they're developing.

Tim Walz

Gov. Walz: Minnesota has bought time against the COVID-19 outbreak

Data shows that community mitigation in Minnesota is working to slow the spread.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz to modify stay-at-home order, unveil new model data Wednesday

The governor provided a glimpse of what's to come during his Tuesday media briefing.

coronavirus, covid-19

Coronavirus total now at 262 in Minnesota

This doesn't reflect the total number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, just those who have been tested.

Governor Tim Walz

After outbreaks at bars, Walz warns: Get this right or they won't stay open

Bars have only been allowed to serve customers inside since June 10.