In less than a month the Minnesota Twins are scheduled to open the regular season against the Brewers in Milwaukee, with the home opener at Target Field set for April 8 against the Seattle Mariners.
Everyone wants to know: Will fans be allowed at Twins games in Minneapolis?
Bring Me The News has learned the Twins expect an answer to that question at "any moment." In mid-February, the Twins announced that it partnered with 3M to prepare for the possible return of fans to the ballpark this season.
“As we continue working with Gov. Tim Walz, public health officials and Major League Baseball toward safely welcoming fans back to Target Field in 2021, we are ecstatic to have the people and science of 3M to help guide us on our path,” Twins President and CEO Dave St. Peter said in a statement. “The health and safety of our fans, partners, players, staff, employees and communities is driving the process, and we are grateful to 3M for bringing their product solutions to Twins Territory."
The Twins are working with 3M on disinfecting, cleaning and physical distancing solutions at Target Field in hopes of reopening the ballpark to the public this season. Fans were not allowed at Twins games last summer because of COVID-19.
During a WCCO Radio interview Monday, Blois Olson of the Morning Take was a guest said he's been told that the Twins have received a "quiet go-ahead" to host fans.
"I have heard that they've been given the quiet go-ahead. We also see other states like California and New York, which are much stricter, start to open up outdoors. The Yankees are going to have fans. The California baseball teams are going to have fans," Olson said. "I've also sensed that if the numbers stay as low as they are – we had no reported new hospitalizations over the weekend – that the dials will turn next week."
As of March 7, there were 223 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals. That's the lowest number of hospitalizations since April 17 last year when there were also 223 people hospitalized. That marked a time when cases first surged, then leveled off over the summer before erupting in the fall.
It remains to be seen if any of the COVID-19 variants, specifically the B.1.1.7 variant that was first detected in the United Kingdom, will cause a third surge in Minnesota. Late last week the state health department revealed a "rapidly growing" cluster of the variant in Carver County.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota, continues to warn of the variant causing another surge in the coming weeks.
"We have this immediate situation which we're going to be confronting for some weeks to come," Osterholm said Monday morning on WCCO Radio, noting the "major transmission" in Carver County that he believes has "surely" spread to other places.
The B.1.1.7 variant is 40-60% more transmissible than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, according to Osterholm, who noted during the interview that the variant can also cause more severe illness.
However, as far as baseball goes, Osterholm said the virus is less transmissible in outdoor environments, though it can cause issues if "people just stand in one location and yell, scream, etcetera."