MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency powers during the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended for yet another month as cases continue to proliferate. The Minnesota Executive Council, all Democrats, extended the powers by another 30 days.
“From building a vast testing network to control the spread of the virus, to standing up vaccine clinics virtually overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has demanded swift action from state officials,” Walz said. “As we work to outpace the spread of variants by getting the vaccine to Minnesotans across the state, we cannot afford to lose speed.”READ MORE: Gov. Walz’s Emergency Powers Extended As Restrictions Loosen Monday
As of this week, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm noted that COVID-19 in Minnesota is “about at the same level we were in October before fall surge,” and said the need for an extension of emergency powers is “compelling.”
The state’s latest figures show a rolling average positivity rate above 7%, and we’re at three times the high level risk threshold in cases per capita. Additionally, there is an upward trend in ICU beds being filled with COVID patients.
Gov. Tim Walz said that most people did not anticipate that the emergency would last 14 months and counting when writing the law, and said that he recognizes the importance of having a discussion about the parameters surrounding the powers.
However, he also said that the “ability of the powers has made differences” when it came to mitigating the effects of the pandemic at long-term care facilities.
Of the increase in vaccinations, Walz said “the normalcy, you can feel it in the air.”
There are 47 states in the country that are still under a state of emergency, though every state is different in what those powers involve.