Minnesota COVID-19 cases hit 115, Walz says shelter-in-place still not needed

An illustration of the appearance of a coronavirus, such as the 2019 coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. (Submitted / Centers for Disease Control)

ST. PAUL — The number of positive cases of the coronavirus in Minnesota grew to 115 on Friday, March 20, up 26 from 89 reported a day prior.

The uptick comes two weeks after the state announced its first positive case and days after officials to significant measures to curb public gatherings. And the new reports Friday included new cases in central and southern Minnesota, including the first reported cases in Chisago and Filmore counties.

The positives were picked up among 3,856 total tests processed in the state, officials said.

Gov. Tim Walz in a radio interview with WCCO on Friday morning said the efforts to buckle down and reduce the spread of COVID-19 fueled "one of the most confusing and disrupting weeks" many Minnesotans had ever experienced. The first-term governor and health officials have maintained that the closures of Minnesota schools, restaurants, bars, gyms, salons and other public venues are crucial to containing the outbreak and preventing the overrun of intensive care units.

The governor said he is still considering a shelter-at-home order like the one underway in California and New York, but said he wouldn't announce plans for that on Friday. Walz was set to address the new numbers and the state's response Friday at 2 p.m. in St. Paul along with the Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly and Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann.

The state has prioritized testing healthcare workers, the hospitalized and persons in long term care due to a shortage of available tests in the state. And those outside those categories are not.

Health officials said Minnesotans who develop respiratory symptoms and fever should isolate at home for 14 days, or three days after their fever breaks, whichever is longer, assuming they can manage their own symptoms at home. Officials said there is no treatment value to getting a positive diagnosis for the positive test's sake.

Family members of those who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to remain in self-quarantine for two weeks following a family member's start of isolation.

The CDC COVID-19 symptom checklist is here.

MDH COVID-19 hotline: (651) 201-3920.


Business impacts hotline: (651) 297-1304 or (800) 657-3504.

School and childcare hotline: (651) 297-1304 or (800) 657-3504.

MDH COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website.

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