Minnesota hospitals ask Walz for statewide mask mandate | KSTP.com

Minnesota hospitals ask Walz for statewide mask mandate

Gov. Tim Walz speaks during a news conference at the Department of Public Safety in St. Paul, Minn. on Saturday, May 23, 2020. Photo: Evan Frost /Minnesota Public Radio via AP. Gov. Tim Walz speaks during a news conference at the Department of Public Safety in St. Paul, Minn. on Saturday, May 23, 2020.

Associated Press
Updated: July 17, 2020 01:48 PM
Created: July 17, 2020 12:47 PM

Minnesota's hospitals have asked Gov. Tim Walz to impose a statewide mask mandate to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In a letter released Friday, the Minnesota Hospital Association urged the governor to act quickly to protect Minnesota from the surge hitting other states. While hospitalizations in Minnesota for COVID-19 have been declining, the group pointed out that the state's positivity rate and new case counts are rising again.

"We have a narrow window of time to slow the spread of the virus, so we are asking you to mandate the wearing of face masks statewide as soon as possible," said the letter from Dr. Rahul Koranne, president and CEO of the association.


More from KSTP:

CDC director: COVID-19 could be controlled in 1-2 months if people wear masks

Where face masks are required in Minnesota


Walz told Minnesota Public Radio on Friday he hasn't made a decision. While the Democratic governor said he's willing to order a mandate "at some point in time," he'd like to get Republican support rather than impose it unilaterally. He said he's watching the state's positivity rate creep upward, and it makes him nervous.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday reported 669 more confirmed cases plus seven deaths, raising the state's death toll to 1,533. Hospitalization rates remain at some of their lowest since mid-April. The department reported 252 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 110 in intensive care.


(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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