By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time since declaring a state of emergency in March over the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz outlined this week what he believes is needed to end the peacetime emergency.

The governor is looking for a decline in positivity rates and community spread, Teddy Tschann, a spokesperson for the governor’s office said. He added: “All 50 states are in an emergency. Our goal is to get COVID under control, that’s how the emergency ends.”

The Star Tribune first reported on what the governor is looking for to end the peacetime emergency in an interview published Thursday.

Currently, the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate is at 5% as of Sept. 8, according to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard. As for community spread, health officials expressed concern this week about increased community spread throughout Minnesota. In response, there will be free testing centers opened in communities across the state over the next four weeks.

Since initially declaring a state of emergency in March, when the outbreak reached Minnesota, Walz has called four special sessions to extend the state of emergency. Under Minnesota law, the governor is required to call a special session every 30 days to get approval for an emergency extension from lawmakers when the legislature is not in session.

During the last three special sessions, the Republican-controlled Senate has called for the end of the state of emergency, but the DFL-controlled House has voted to continue to give Walz emergency powers.

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