By Reg Chapman

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tuesday was the deadliest day since Minnesota officials started tracking the coronavirus. Nineteen people died, bringing the total to 179.

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Seventy-percent of Minnesota fatalities are in long-term care facilities. There are more than 2,700 confirmed cases.

One of the survivors, 72-year-old Duane Reed, is speaking out. He says he was exposed to COVID-19 at a funeral held inside his church in St. Paul.

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“We were only a few people and we were practicing social distancing,” Reed said.

His deacon and communion partner was also there.

“She had just come back from New Orleans, her and her husband,” Reed said.

Two days later, she was diagnosed with COVID-19. Reed began feeling sick three days later.

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“The first four days I thought I just had a cold, so I treated it with NyQuil. Felt OK,” Reed said. “But the fifth day I just started to feel real bad, tired, lethargic, just didn’t feel good, so I called the doctor.”

His deacon was admitted to the hospital, but Reed was quarantined at home.

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“I told [a health care professional] I was having cold sweats, and he said there’s nothing we can do, you don’t sound like you’re breathing very heavy, and I had just gotten a pneumonia shot the first of March, and it was kind of lucky or blessed on that accord,” Reed said.

For 48 years, Reed and his wife, Willa Ellis Reed, have traveled the world, which is now sidelined by the pandemic. Reed, a Vietnam veteran, says he fought hard and feels blessed to be alive. A University of Minnesota graduate who went on to work and retire from Cargill, Reed says sitting at home gave him time to reflect. He wants young people to take this virus seriously.

“Stay home, safe in place. Grocery store, fine. A walk around the block, fine. Do not congregate. It’s not about you, it’s about what you can do to others,” he said.

Reed hopes they wash their hands and wear masks in public so he can see them when life returns to normal.

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Reg Chapman