MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It has been just over five weeks since Gov. Tim Walz enacted a month-long statewide dial back, that included no indoor dining, closing gyms and a halt on youth sports.

Now, cases are coming down dramatically after health officials called the state a hotspot last month. Kris Ehresmann is director of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division.

“I really think it does have to do with the fact that, you know, people did really change their activities, for instance for Thanksgiving,” Ehresmann said.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Minnesota has one of the lowest seven-day averages for case positivity in the country. The state also has some of the most strict guidelines, with indoor dining and group fitness classes still on pause.

“We’ve gone from being some of the worse, to being in a much, much better place because of the changes that have been made,” Ehresmann said.

(credit: CBS)

She says heath officials will be watching for any kind of spike in cases after the Christmas holiday, but she noticed many who celebrated with other households were often masked, outside, or got tested beforehand.

“Even though people did get together to celebrate the holidays, I do think that they did so in a very thoughtful manner,” she said.

Ehresmann says the decrease in cases, and a vaccine in phase distribution ends the year on a positive note.

“I was really worried and distressed in November with those high, high case numbers that we were seeing, and obviously the subsequent deaths,” she said. “But that is coming under control, so there’s a lot of very positive things going into 2021.”

Ehresmann continued to stress that social distancing and wearing a mask is important to slow the spread.

If you do gather with family or friends for the holidays, the best time to get tested for the disease is five to seven days after exposure.

Kate Raddatz