Gov. Tim Walz, MDH react to record-setting COVID-19 deaths

Minnesota can expect further bad news over the coming weeks.
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Tim Walz

Gov. Tim Walz has called on Minnesotans to "honor" those who have lost their lives to COVID-19 on a day the state posted a record 101 deaths from the virus.

The single-day high shattered the previous high of 72 – reported on two days in November – and comes after a period of spiking cases and hospitalizations from the virus.

Among the deaths reported Friday was a person aged 25-29 years old in Hennepin County.

More pain could follow in the coming weeks, with hospitalizations from COVID-19 hitting a record high earlier this week, with deaths tending to lag hospitalizations.

In a statement issued Friday, Walz called on Minnesotans to honor those who have died by taking steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"This Thanksgiving, many Minnesotans set their holiday table smaller than they normally do," he said. "Many chose to do so to protect their family from the spread of COVID-19. But for the more than 3,000 families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, it wasn’t a choice. Those chairs will always remain empty."

He added: "As we hit this somber milestone, we owe those families a promise. We must promise them that their loved ones did not die in vain. We must honor them by fighting this virus at every turn. We must redouble our efforts to protect one another.”

Minnesota's Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm also issued a statement in which she said the Friday figures are "a sad development" but "not surprising."

"For weeks we have been sounding the alarm about the dramatic growth in COVID-19 cases," she said. "We know that more cases leads to more hospitalizations and deaths, and today’s news reinforces that tragic pattern.

"As we make our way through the next few weeks and a holiday season unlike any we have experienced, we must redouble our efforts to protect each other – especially those who are at higher risk of developing severe illness. Every public activity now is more risky than it was even a few weeks ago, so the best way to slow this spread is for people to stay home and away from gatherings with those outside of our immediate household."

Walz imposed a 4-week shutdown of bars, restaurants and gyms, as well as prohibiting gatherings with anyone outside their household.

At the same time however, he acknowledged the ban on gatherings was largely unenforceable. How many people stuck with the guidance over Thanksgiving will likely be seen discovered via case numbers of the virus in the next few weeks.

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