Coronavirus in Minnesota: Walz to announce “break” in school activities


MinnPost provides updates on the coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is released following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Here are the latest updates from November 17, 2020:

236,949 cases; 2,943 deaths

Twenty-six other Minnesotans have died from COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday, for a total of 2,943. After reaching 56 deaths last Wednesday, a record high, the state-reported death toll declined daily over the weekend and fell to 12 on Monday before climbing again on Tuesday.

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Of those whose deaths were announced on Tuesday, four were 90, eight 80 and seven 70, five 60 and two 50. Twelve of the 26 deaths announced Tuesday were residents of long-term care facilities. With 486 deaths to date, November is on track to be the deadliest month in the pandemic. In May, 696 people died from the coronavirus.

MDH also said on Tuesday that there had been 236,949 total cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of positives is up 5,931 from Monday’s tally and is based on 33,542 new tests. The seven-day average of positive cases, which is one week behind, is now 14.9%. This percentage has increased steadily since October and is approaching 15% for the first time since April. Health officials say a seven-day rate above 5% is a worrying sign of an increasing spread of the disease.

The most recent data available shows that 346 Minnesotans are hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19, and 1,323 are in hospital with COVID-19 and not in intensive care. You can find more information about the current use and capacity of Minnesota Intensive Care here.

More information on the cases can be found here.

Walz says state to ‘suspend’ sports activities at school

In the wake of his announcement last week of stricter restrictions on certain businesses, Gov. Tim Walz said on Tuesday that he would announce a “break” from school activities on Wednesday that will be “quite broad” in all sports. He said school activities are a source of community spread and that due to the “unsustainable” trajectory of cases, he said he could not continue to put people at risk.

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Former GOP state representative Nick Zerwas, of Elk River, was part of the call Tuesday with Walz. Zerwas – who was previously a vocal critic of the state’s shutdown measures – said he contracted the virus, likely from his son, and the virus should be taken seriously. Zerwas said he was wrong in his previous position over the summer that the number of positive cases did not justify the level of restrictions. “If we don’t act now,” he said. “May God help us.”

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MDH coronavirus website:

MDH’s hotline for COVID-19 questions, Monday to Friday. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m .: 651-297-1304

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