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At 112, Minnesota's oldest person adapts birthday party during COVID-19

Erna Zahn of New Ulm gets special treatment on her 112th birthday.

NEW ULM, Minn. — Minnesota’s oldest resident didn’t get the birthday party planned for her.

But 112-year-old Erna Zahn didn’t do half bad – starting with the new hairdo given her by a staff member at Oak Hills Living Center where Erna lives in New Ulm.  


Her day got better. 

With Erna at her window, a parade of cars passed by with friends and family cheering Erna from car windows.

“Oh, my word,” a delighted Erna said from inside.

Born in 1908 in Wisconsin, Erna married Meilahn Zahn and raised her family – moving along the way to New Ulm where her husband took a teaching position.

Erna's secret to longevity?

“Eat your breakfast, your body needs it,” Erna says. “Hot oatmeal is my favorite.”

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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

There is also a data portal online at mn.gov/covid19.

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