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Minnesota's COVID-19 cases increase by 27 as 3 more patients hospitalized

Gov. Tim Walz and state health officials were set to address the new totals and potential actions at 2 p.m.

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 Minnesota Department of Health on Tuesday, March 24,  reported  27 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, raising the state's total cases to  262.

The total comes after officials Monday reported the largest one-day increase in cases today, spurred by more than 900 tests being processed the day prior. In total, 5,812 tests have been processed in the state.

The number of Minnesotans hospitalized due to the illness grew from 12 on Monday to 15 on Tuesday, according to the department. And 88 patients who've tested positive for the illness no longer need to be in isolation.

State health officials and Gov. Tim Walz on Monday said the number of those infected with COVID-19 in Minnesota is likely much higher than what confirmed case totals show. And Walz said as many as 40% to 80% of Minnesotans could contract it, most with minor symptoms.

In an effort to bend the curve of mounting cases, Walz and others have taken steps to mitigate potential spread, including closing schools for most students, temporarily ending dine-in options in restaurants and closing bars, salons, gyms and several other businesses that allow for the congregation of large numbers of people.


The governor on Monday said he was mulling a shelter-in-place order that would require those in "non-essential" fields to remain at home unless they are going to the grocery store, pharmacy or exercising outside.

Walz on a call with reporters said the state was trying to assess  computer models  that could project the spread under current social restrictions imposed by the state and under the possible shelter-in-place or stay-at-home model. State health officials and Walz on Tuesday were set to address the spread and steps to further limit the spread at 2 p.m.

On Monday, Walz issued executive orders  halting eviction proceedings  from taking place until after the COVID-19 peacetime state of emergency in Minnesota has subsided. That means those who can afford to should continue paying rent, but landlords and financial institutions won't be able to initiate evictions if homeowners or tenants are unable to pay.

And in separate executive orders, Walz also authorized the Department of Employment and Economic Development to establish a Small Business Emergency Loan for businesses affected by the pandemic, called for an end to non-emergency veterinary surgeries and asked non-hospital groups to report to the state and donate or preserve key medical equipment.

The governor also proposed $356 million in additional funding for child care centers, families struggling financially through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), veterans, food shelves, small business loans and Minnesotans without homes. That can't move forward without legislative approval and with the Minnesota Legislature on a recess, leaders would have to call themselves back to take it up. No such order had been handed down as of Tuesday morning.

This is a developing story. Please check back later in the day for updates.

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Source: Minnesota Department of Health

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