MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)— On the morning Minnesota’s governor announced expanded COVID-19 testing across the state, he shared a message of danger for the days ahead.

The state reported more than 3,000 new COVID cases and 19 deaths on Monday. That’s on top of 10,000 positive tests from the weekend and 65 more lives lost — adding to the growing numbers since the start of the pandemic.

Walz made a stop at the Minneapolis Convention Center Monday morning, now home to the state’s 8th COVID-19 saliva testing site. With more than a dozen others set to open statewide in the next two weeks, there is a palpable desperation by state leaders to get the virus under control.

“It’s not your fault if you get this. It is your fault if you’re not doing things to stop spreading it to other people … like staying home, like testing, like isolating, like picking up the phone when the health department calls you,” Walz said.

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Walz and MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm expect Minnesota will move into the top 10 states for infections per capita soon.

“Do not think that you can avoid transmitting this virus to others just because you personally may no have symptoms” Malcolm said.

COVID case investigations seem to prove the younger, often asymptomatic population is responsible for the massive community spread the state has seen for weeks.

Dr. Jill Amsberry, pediatrician at Centracare in St. Cloud, has noticed fewer kids in her clinic. She believes masks, handwashing and social distancing is keeping them healthier than in years past.

“But in general, our kids still affect our population and affect our community spread,” Dr. Amsberry said.

She points to state data that shows what high case numbers in younger people lead to: the proportion of cases, to a larger proportion of deaths in people ages 70 and up.

“You might think then that those patients with the highest population of positive cases, though mild illness, are the ones spreading it to older populations,” Dr. Amsberry said.

It’s why she also believes whether it’s an exposure or even the slightest symptom, testing is the only safe option.

“That is the safest thing for the state of Minnesota,” She said. “The more that we know, the better off we are,” Dr. Amsberry said.

Click here for more information on the hours of the Minneapolis Convention Center testing site and the others set to open over the next two weeks.

Liz Collin

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