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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — State health officials announced Thursday that the number of positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Minnesota has risen to 346, up from 287 on Wednesday. A second person has also died.
According to a map from the Minnesota Department of Health, most of the positive cases so far are in the Twin Cities metro. Hennepin County alone has 128 positive cases.
Still, the virus appears to be spreading across greater Minnesota, from St. Louis and Clay counties up north to Fillmore and Blue Earth counties in southern Minnesota.
Approximately 12,950 people have completed tests in the state’s Public Health Lab and external laboratories, health officials say. Of them, more than 30 are currently being hospitalized.
In a daily update with health officials Thursday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz says the age range of those infected with COVID-19 is 5 months old to 104 years old.
“So, the COVID-19 virus as we know spans the spectrum,” Walz said.
So far, two people have died from the disease. Both deaths involve a Ramsey County resident in their 80s.
MDH released a statement acknowledging the death:
We are saddened to report that a second Minnesotan has died from a confirmed case of COVID-19. As with the first death announced March 21, this second death involved a resident of Ramsey County in their 80s. We will provide any additional information that is available on this death during the afternoon media briefing call.
We share our condolences with the family and friends of the deceased person, and we will continue to work hard to prevent additional illnesses and deaths in Minnesota. All Minnesotans can help us in this work by following the state’s guidance to stay at home, practice social distancing and be diligent about washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes.
Meanwhile, more than 134 people have recovered and no longer are required to be in isolation.
Walz issued an executive “stay at home” order that will be implemented Friday at 11:59 p.m. People are being asked to limit movement outside to essential services.
Walz stressed that the order “does not mean we are going to ask you to show your papers”, and that the goal is social distancing. He said he is not declaring martial law.
In the daily update, Walz also said Asian Americans and Pacific Island Minnesotans are reporting racist comments and discrimination because some call it “Chinese Virus.”
“We cannot tolerate discrimination against our neighbors,” he said.
In response to President Donald Trump’s comments about trying to get America back to work by Easter (April 12), Walz said the state will “base everything we do on the facts of science.”
Walz’s final comment was to compliment Minnesota’s response and abiding by social distancing.
“The cooperation of Minnesotans has been absolutely spectacular. I’m not surprised by it, but I think it always lifts your heart,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minnesota Legislature is meeting Thursday to pass a second emergency COVID-19 rescue bill.
For most people, COVID-19 symptoms are mild. However, the disease can be deadly for the elderly and those with sensitive lungs. Even so, the vast majority of people who contract the virus recover.
Health officials say those with questions about COVID-19 can call the Minnesota Department of Health hotline at 651-201-3920.