MDH: 77 COVID-19 cases in Minnesota; public urged to practice social distancing to mitigate community spread

Wednesday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) stated there are 17 newly-reported cases that have tested positive for COVID-19, creating a total of 77 cases.

Meanwhile, approximately 2,762 people have been tested in the state so far. However, MDH said it’s sure there are more positive cases in the state due to community spread and untested cases. A shortage of testing supplies remains an issue.

The health department urged anyone who is sick or not feeling well to assume you have COVID-19 and stay home. The department also asked people to not post they’ve tested positive on social media because it creates more angst and unrest in communities.

Of the state’s patients, MDH said their median age is 50. Four of the 77 patients are hospitalized with one still in critical condition. The department also said there are now at least six community transmitted cases.

MDH officials believe there are more cases in the state and the virus is circulating in communities. They urge the public to follow advice on community mitigation and social distancing to help flatten the case curve.

A total of 13 health care workers in Minnesota have now tested positive, MDH said, but all are related to travel and weren’t acquired in a work setting. Another 10 patients are school-age or school employees.

Counties with at least one positive test include Anoka, Benton, Blue Earth, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Martin, Nicollet, Olmsted, Ramsey, Renville, Scott, Stearns, Waseca, Washington and Wright counties.

KSTP’s complete COVID-19 coverage

Gov. Tim Walz gave an update Wednesday afternoon on the state’s response to the outbreak.

In some good news, Walz said 32 Minnesotans who were quarantined after being on a Grand Princess cruise have now returned home.

He also said the state has asked the federal government for an extension on its October deadline for REAL IDs due to the outbreak and many DVS sites closed or working at a slower pace.

Walz also said 1,700 test samples for possible COVID-19 cases have been frozen due to a lack of capacity to test them.

The governor repeatedly asked for patience from Minnesotans as the situation continues to evolve and the state continues to respond to the outbreak.

You can watch his full press conference below.

The Minnesota House of Representatives also said Wednesday an employee has a presumed case of COVID-19.

Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman released the following statement:

"Today, we learned that an individual who works for the Minnesota House of Representatives was found to have a presumed case of COVID-19. Due to health privacy laws and HR policies, we will not be disclosing any further information on the individual. The Minnesota House of Representatives is continuing to follow the guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health to keep legislators, staff, and the public safe as we do our work to respond to this pandemic. We ask that anyone with questions contact the MDH hotline and not members or staff of the House. We cannot provide any further information beyond what has been released here."

According to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the virus has infected about 205,452 people worldwide and killed about 8,248.

The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems.

More than 82,032 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.