ST PAUL, Minn. — Editor's note: The 'Stay at Home' order has been extended to May 4, including the closure of bars and restaurants.
Gov. Tim Walz is announcing a "stay home" order for Minnesotans to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Walz made the announcement by video Wednesday, as he is self-quarantining after a member of his security detail tested positive for coronavirus. Walz said he's putting in place "significant mitigation" for two weeks, planned to reduce person-to-person contact by 80%.
The "Stay at Home" order extends from March 27 at 11:59 p.m. to April 10 at 5 p.m., directing Minnesotans not to leave their homes except for essential needs.
According to Walz, people will be allowed to leave their residence for the following, but should practice social distancing while doing them:
- Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies
- Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting or fishing
- Necessary Supplies and Services, such as getting groceries, gasoline or carry-out
- Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state
- Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household
- Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home
- Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation or essential operations reasons
- Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation
The closure of bars and restaurants is extended to May 1, and schools will continue distance learning until May 4. Walz said liquor stores will remain open.
"Minnesotans, we're in this together," said Walz. "We're asking you to buckle up for the next two weeks."
Under this order, workers who are considered essential are:
- Health care and public health
- Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
- Child care
- Food and agriculture
- News media
- Water and wastewater
- Critical manufacturing
Read the full "Stay at Home" order for Minnesota below or click here.
Are you considered an essential worker? Find out by emailing: email@example.com or visiting https://mn.gov/governor/covid-19/faq.jsp
According to officials, 78% of jobs in Minnesota are in the critical industries as outlined by the order, however, they anticipate around 28% of Minnesotans to be temporarily jobless during the two-week period.
The governor said based on scientific modeling, if no mitigation were put into place, Minnesota's worst-case scenario could be 74,000 deaths from COVID-19. Most cases of coronavirus are mild, but 15% require hospitalization and 5% require ICU care.
Patients have a 10 times greater chance of survival, Walz said, if they get ICU care. Walz says his plan will give Minnesota time to increase capacity by transforming large facilities to add ICU beds, and get ready for the influx.
With no mitigation, Walz said, the models show that Minnesota would have hit the peak of the epidemic in nine weeks, and peak ICU capacity in six weeks.
He said with mitigation efforts in place already, including social distancing, closing schools and halting dine-in service at bars and restaurants, they've already slowed down the peak time of the virus. With the additional mitigation he's planning, Walz said, the model shows the peak of the virus moving out to 14 weeks, and ICU capacity being hit at 11 weeks.
Walz said on Tuesday that he believes the data is showing that Minnesotans' social distancing and the community mitigation measures they've already put in place appear to be working.
"Minnesota seems to be doing this better than any state," he said again Wednesday. "Most people are staying home when they can."
Walz said they do not want to arrest people who don't comply, but rather to educate them. He said this will require some "voluntary social compliance," although the order does state that someone who "willfully violates" it is guilty of a misdemeanor.
When this is over, Walz said, 2 million Minnesotans will likely be infected with coronavirus, whether or not he issues an order. Walz's goal, he has said multiple times, is to slow down the spread of the virus while the state works to expand ICU capacity, procure or produce more personal protective equipment for health care workers, and ramp up testing, so that the health care system doesn't get overwhelmed.
The Minnesota Department of Health announced Wednesday that the state now has 287 confirmed cases of COVID-19, although they have repeatedly stated that those numbers are the "tip of the iceberg," as they believe the virus is circulating broadly.
A Ramsey County man in his 80s died over the weekend after recently being diagnosed with coronavirus. State health officials say that remains the only death reported in Minnesota as of Wednesday.
In total, 35 people have had to be hospitalized, and 26 are still hospitalized. Twelve are in intensive care. The rest of the patients have recovered or are recovering at home.
More than 6,300 samples have been tested at the MDH lab and more than 5,000 tested at outside labs, according to MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm.
If you want to report a violation of the Stay At Home order, DO NOT call 9-1-1. Instead, you can call 651-793-3746 or email SAHviolation@state.mn.us.
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