Walz readying 'more surgical' mitigation strategies as COVID-19 surges

It's unclear if bars and restaurants will face further restrictions.
Publish date:

Tuesday could be another big day for Minnesotans as Gov. Tim Walz is expected to announce new measures aimed at slowing what has become a rapidly escalating COVID-19 crisis in the state and entire Upper Midwest. 

Speaking Monday from a new saliva testing site at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Walz hinted at a "more targeted" and "more surgical" approach compared to the all-encompassing lockdowns that sent the state's economy into a spiral in March. 

What exactly Walz is planning to say is unclear, but he said he was going to meet with legislators Monday to discuss "what we do and how we turn that dial to have the maximum health effect" while minimizing the economic impact. 

Walz did hint at the possible launch of a system that can track cellphone data to notify anyone who unknowingly had an exposure to someone who wound up testing positive for COVID-19 a mobile alert.

He has previously suggested he's not keen on a return to the level of lockdown seen earlier in the year, when restaurants and bars were among the businesses required to close for three months.

Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the virus is spreading all over the state, and it's not just superspreader events linked to weddings, funerals and other large gatherings. 

"It's not just one or two or three big events. It is thousands of events happening all over the state all the time," said Malcolm. "Gathering in numbers is riskier today than it was a month ago, just flat out a fact because of the degree of community spread that is out there." 

"These are huge life milestones and of course everybody wants to celebrate, but large gatherings right now are dangerous," she said.

According to MPR's David Montgomery, it took eight months for Minnesota to confirm via testing 185,000 cases of COVID-19, and the next 185,000 could be found in less than a month. 

"This is exponential growth. We are now seeing the rate of growth that we predicted and feared," said Malcolm. 

Walz and Malcolm said they will reveal data that will provide clarity for their decisions. 

"If you look at all the sources of spread: workplaces, retail, celebratory events, bars and restaurants, that is a very large category of cases," explained Malcolm. "Are there patterns there? Are there things – as the governor said – that we can do that are more targeted and more specific in nature?"

"That is definitely something we're going to be talking about more tomorrow," she said. 

Follow Bring Me The News on YouTube

Walz defended past actions to shut down indoor dining at bars and restaurants, saying "we are not scapegoating the hospitality industry." 

"We are not demonizing, nor should anyone, this environment," he said. "It's just a riskier environment. But in fall fairness, you gathering with 3 or 4 families in your backyard – or worse yet in your garage for a celebration – would have an equally detrimental affect. And we'll have to target those too. I think you'll see tomorrow we're going to try and be much more surgical about this." 

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

Next Up

Jorge Polanco

Shoemaker, Twins lineup rebounds against Tigers

Jorge Polanco homered in a 7-3 victory over Detroit.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Watch: Kaprizov's OT winner lifts Wild into 2nd place in West

Kaprizov's goal gave the Wild a 3-2 victory over the Ducks.

Byron Buxton

Buxton placed on IL, Trevor Larnach called up

Buxton could be out "for weeks" with a hip strain.

A bald eagle perched on branches.

USFWS confirms 2 bald eagles were shot dead

The agency is offering a reward for information in the case.

A newborn baby, wrapped in a blanket with its mother.

Most popular baby names includes one not in top 10 for 100 years

But Olivia and Liam once again led the way for girls and boys.

Minnesota Lottery

Names of big Minnesota Lottery winners to be kept private thanks to new law

The Minnesota Legislature passed the bill unanimously and Gov. Tim Walz signed it into law this week.

FLickr - COVID-19 vaccination - Commander, U.S. Naval Forces

All 8 state COVID-19 vaccine sites now accept walk-ins

Adults can get a no-cost vaccine without making an appointment.


Report: Vikings owners nearing purchase of Orlando City MLS franchise

The Wilfs reportedly attempted to buy the Minnesota United expansion franchise years ago.

bemidji paul bunyan

Video shows the moment someone broke the Paul Bunyan statue's arm

Police are asking for the public's help to identify those involved.

bridgeman's food truck duluth

Last remaining Bridgeman's Restaurant is launching a food truck

The Duluth restaurant is the only remaining full-service Bridgeman's in business.

FLickr - electric drive vehicle charging - Open Grid Scheduler

Minnesota can move ahead with Clean Cars program, judge says

She recommended the proposed rules be adopted.



Walz to announce new COVID-19 restrictions at Tuesday press conference

He will reportedly reduce the opening hours of bars and restaurants.

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.

Muddy Waters, coronavirus, covid-19

Walz: Change to restaurant, bar guidance unlikely before June 1

Churches can allow 25% capacity up to 250 people, but bars and restaurants can only serve a max of 50 customers outside only.

covid-19, coronavirus

Walz indicates more COVID-19 restrictions could be on the way

More targeted mandates are likely on the way, according to Walz.

coronavirus, covid-19

MN health commissioner: Further restrictions 'very possible' as crisis looms

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota.

coronavirus, Iowa

Osterholm: Walz's restrictions could slow COVID-19 'maybe a little bit'

Osterholm believes much stricter mandates are needed to slow the pandemic.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz discusses COVID-19, no plans to re-close businesses, schools

The governor is urging Minnesotans to follow the current safety protocols.