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

Walz is set to address the state at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
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coronavirus, covid-19, shelter-in-place, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

The Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, empty as Minnesotans take to heart the Stay Home MN initiative. 

2 P.M. UPDATE

Gov. Walz has indeed announced a shelter in place order that will go into effect for two weeks beginning Friday at 11:59 p.m. Get the full details in our updated story here

Original story

Governor Tim Walz is preparing to place Minnesota in a "shelter-in-place" order to continue the state's efforts to slow the infection rate of the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to reports developing on Wednesday.

"He would give guidance on it becoming effective in the coming days," said Blois Olson in an interview with Chad Hartman on WCCO Radio. "We don't know a time yet, and he's going to lay that all out at 2 o'clock." 

KSTP's Tom Hauser reports that the shelter-in-place order for Minnesota will not be as extensive and restrictive as the "stay-at-home" order that went into effect in Wisconsin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. 

The governor said Tuesday that he's still studying 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 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," he said.

"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."

Slowing the rate of the spread of COVID-19 gives Minnesota a better chance to avoid seeing hospitals overwhelmed with patients. Walz said there are 243 available ICU beds in Minnesota.

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The Minnesota Department of Health announced Wednesday that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Minnesota went from 15 Monday to 26 Tuesday. 

"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. 

Approximately 11,500 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Minnesota – more than 6,300 by the MN Dept. of Health and another 5,100 by independent laboratories, including the Mayo Clinic. Of those tests, 287 have been positive, representing a positive test rate of approximately 2.5%. 

In New York, where there are more than 25,000 confirmed cases, around 28% of all people tested have been positive, according to NY Mag

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