MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he’ll do what he can to make sure what’s happening in Wisconsin, in terms of the number of new COVID cases, doesn’t happen here.

Participants at a Wednesday roundtable gathered around like old friends, friends who are all fighting the same viral enemy.

Professional musician Nachito Herrera was hit by the virus so badly, he was intubated and in a coma.

“I wake up after 14 days with no control of fingers or hands to even bring the food to your mouth,” he said. “Please, my friends, there is no doubt COVID exists. And we have to deal with this big huge enemy, and we are still dealing with that. And I think the only way we can continue to win the battle is working together.”

Six months into the pandemic, Walz gathered the health commissioner, a psychologist who lost her beloved mother to the virus, and an ER doctor whose entire family got the virus.

“It was hard to make it through with four sick children. It was incredibly difficult, and I think so much about how hard it was and how much easier it is than the patients I take care of,” Dr. Jon Cole, of Hennepin Healthcare, said.

Health commissioner Jan Malcolm said the latest figures show disparities neither widening nor shrinking.

“COVID is shining a light on systematic issues,” she said.

Walz said they will continue to collaborate, and for now continue mandates on masks and bars because the battle is ongoing.

“Giving the truth is what’s required of me, and I said in March we are in a long dark winter. And we are still in that long dark winter,” Walz said.

Walz announced he’s going to extend Minnesota’s peacetime emergency another 30 days. Each time Walz declares or extends an emergency, lawmakers have the chance to vote on it. Walz says there will be a special session Monday for that, and also to discuss COVID-19 funding.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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