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

Data shows that community mitigation in Minnesota is working to slow the spread.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Minnesotans have taken social distancing seriously and the data shows that the strategy has bought the state's healthcare facilities more time in the race against the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

"We have slowed the infections rate, have pushed out the peak and have pushed out the peak to ICU capacity," Gov. Tim Walz said.

Walz reiterated that 40-80% of Minnesotans will likely be infected with COVID-19 during the course of the epidemic, but the key is drawing out the peak infection rate and keeping intensive care unit (ICU) beds available to patients, as well as stockpiling as much personal protection equipment as possible for doctors and nurses. 

"If they're [severely ill patients] able to get proper ICU, their survival rates are much, much higher. If they don't get that ICU care, it has a pretty high mortality rate and we're trying to work against that," said Walz. 

The governor is still studying developing data and modeling before making a decision to put Minnesota in a stay-at-home order the same way more than a dozen states across the country, including Wisconsin, have. 

"We think Minnesota is getting results that look different. When you go into a shelter in place, how are you going to come out of that and what's it look like? People need to hear the truth on this.

"There's going to be several waves of this. It's how you manage it. The decisions we've taken now have all been to do basically one thing, to buy us time by social distancing. It's what you do with that time."

By slowing the rate of spread, Minnesota researchers are using the extra time to look for therapeutics and vaccines, ramp up testing, stockpile protective equipment and planning for how to best handle any additional waves of the outbreak. 

"The thing that we're striving for is to not let anybody show up at the hospital and not be able to get an ICU bed or ventilator," said Walz. 

There are currently 243 ICU beds available in Minnesota. Of the state's 262 confirmed COVID-19 patients, seven of them are currently in intensive care.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters  

Walz reacts to Trump's goal of re-opening the economy by Easter

The good news for Minnesota comes on a day in which President Donald Trump said he's hoping to re-open the nation's economy by Easter, which waits 19 days from now on April 12.

"It's going to be well beyond Easter and I don't think it does us any good to pretend that it's not," said Walz, who was asked what advice he'd give to Trump: "Use the Defense Protection Act and crank out PPE and ventilators, that is the single biggest thing that the federal government could do." 

The president's optimism was preceded by an ominous message from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"We are just the test case. That's how the nation should look at it. Look at us today. Where we are today, you will be in three weeks or five weeks or six weeks. We are your future," said Gov. Cuomo said. 

If New York is the future for Minnesota, the rate of infection is far faster than it appears to be in Minnesota, which is a testament to Minnesotans taking Gov. Walz's "Stay Home MN" initiative seriously. 

Minnesota, with still-limited testing capabilities, has 262 confirmed COVID-19 cases. In New York, the number of confirmed cases has exploded from around 3,500 last Thursday to more than 21,000 Tuesday, albeit it has greater testing capacity.

Minnesota has had just 1 COVID-19 death so far, while New York has had 157.

Next Up

DirecTV

DirecTV subscribers could lose KARE 11 on Tuesday

A new contract needs to be agreed upon by 6 p.m. Tuesday.

prison, Rush City cell block

Inmate from Rush City prison dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The man is the fifth incarcerated person in Minnesota to die from COVID-19.

ambulance

Belle Plaine man dies after duck boat capsizes on lake

One man was found sitting on the overturned boat while another man was in the water.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 4.59.51 PM

Watch: Adam Thielen watches end of Vikings/Panthers just like all of us

The Vikings receiver looked like a true fan on Sunday afternoon.

Chad Beebe

Chad Beebe's roller-coaster fourth-quarter keeps Vikings playoff hopes alive

A muffed punt and a game-winning touchdown helped defeat the Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

127266986_2766399800267634_3587849554502438415_n

West-central MN cops warn kids to stay off ice, or 'Santa won't come'

This comes amid repeated ice warnings across the state.

covid-19, coronavirus, PPE

Nov. 29 COVID-19 update: 57 deaths, nearly 9,000 more cases

Nearly 100,000 tests were included in Sunday's report.

jim ramstad

Watch former Rep. Jim Ramstad's memorial service online

The ceremony will be live-streamed for the public on Sunday.

EDL1LeKXsAEeH32

How high can Rashod Bateman go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

The Gophers star receiver has plenty of praise heading into next April.

TCF Bank Stadium

15 more from Gopher football team test positive for COVID-19

That brings the total number of cases from this outbreak to 40.

Teddy Bridgewater

5 questions for Vikings-Panthers Week 12 NFC battle

The Vikings welcome Teddy Bridgewater back to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

police lights

Man, 21, in custody after Albert Lea police officer shot in the chest

The officer was able to drive to an emergency room.

Related

Tim Walz

Gov. Walz to self-quarantine after contact with COVID-19

A member of the governor's security staff tested positive for the disease.

Gov. Walz to give update on MN's response to COVID-19

The governor will provide an update at 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 24.

coronavirus, nurse

MN hospitals urge Gov. Tim Walz to mandate masks statewide

The MN Hospitals Association says there is a narrow window to slow the spread.

Cowboy Jacks

4 Minnesota bars linked to COVID-19 outbreaks

More than 130 cases have resulted from people congregating at the bars.

minnesota state fair

Coronavirus: Walz talks State Fair, confidence in outbreak model

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

Life Time

Life Time encourages members to lobby Walz over COVID-19 measures

The CEO says it could end up temporarily laying off 4,000 workers.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz sounds COVID-19 alarm, launches massive testing initiative

Despite huge increases in testing, Minnesota's percent positive rate keeps rising.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.