Minnesota officials provide outbreak updates

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz during a press conference Friday.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz unveiled a new dashboard during an update to Minnesotans on Friday, April 3. This dashboard provides the latest available data on ventilators, ICU beds, personal protective (PPE) and testing.

“During Minnesota’s Stay Home order, we’ve worked to collect data, increase the availability of necessary equipment and develop strategies to address economic and social impacts of COVID-19,” Walz said. “This dashboard will provide Minnesotans with timely, accurate information about the data that informs our decisions on COVID-19 response, recovery and resources.”

The two-week period of a state-mandated sheltering-in-place has allowed Minnesota officials to prioritize collecting additional COVID-19 data, increase the number of supplies such as ICU beds, ventilators and PPE needed to care for the current and upcoming surge of patients, develop strategies to address the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 outbreak in Minnesota.

The dashboard will be updated daily and can be found at https://mn.gov/covid19/.

“Slowing the spread of COVID-19 absolutely saves lives and building up that capacity in the hospitals gives us the time necessary to start moving this further down the road so we get closer to therapeutics that may work,” Walz said. “Building up that capacity in hospitals gives us the time necessary to start moving this further down the road so we get closer to antibiotics.”

Walz has not yet announced whether he plans to extend his executive order to shelter-in-place. The current shelter-in-place order is scheduled to go through Friday, 10.

When asked in his regular briefing with reporters, Walz said he is concerned about neighboring states that have not issued shelter-in-place orders.

“I know these actions are painful, they are painful both social-isolation wise and painful economic wise to many of you. The stress and disruption you are feeling is unprecedented,” he said.

As of Friday, April 4, Minnesota has completed 24,227 laboratory tests with 789 positive tests, 410 of which have recovered, 86 currently hospitalized and 22 deaths. Of the latest four deaths, three were living in group care facilities and the fourth was not in group care but did have underlying health problems, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

“The danger is still here,” Walz said. “The peak will come to Minnesota.”

Malcolm recommended that wearing a non-medical grade mask will help with source-control within communities. However, she said not to use medical-grade masks to save those for health care workers and other emergency workers.

Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said that two state prison system facilities have cases of CVOID-19. Moose Lake facility has 20 prisoners who have or presumed to have it and two corrections staff members at a juvenile facility in Red Wing have also tested positive.

Schnell said the prison system is implementing its own version of a stay-at-home protocol wishing the prison systems that would keep people within the same living unit rather than allowing them to mingle within cell units. Additionally, system leaders are reviewing nonviolent, low-risk offenders who are within 90 days of release for step-down programs that would ease crowding and spreading within prison facilities.

“The purpose of this is getting to a capacity should – we have a large scale outbreak,” Schnell said.”

Daily News will continue to follow the latest updates.

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