The Minnesota Department of Health reported that the state’s COVID-19 death toll remained at 70 on Monday, the same level as on Sunday. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed infections grew by 29, bringing the total COVID-19 case load in Minnesota to 1,650.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday announced he was extending a peacetime state of emergency for an additional 30 days.
“Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said.
“The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us—an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation,” he added.
Walz first declared a peacetime emergency in response to the virus outbreak on March 13. Two days later, Minnesota detected the first confirmed cases of “community spread,” and on March 21, state health officials announced the first confirmed COVID-19 death in Minnesota.
The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a type of novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, has spread aggressively across the United States, with a Johns Hopkins tally noting over 558,000 infections as of April 13, while the number of fatalities attributed to the virus standing at over 22,000.
Monday’s extension of the peacetime emergency is needed for many of the measures that Minnesota has taken in response to the virus to continue, the governor’s office said.
The measures taken since Walz declared a state of emergency include the closure of schools and implementation of a distance learning period, activation of the National Guard to assist in relief efforts, temporary closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation, efforts to provide economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic, and an order directing Minnesotans to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.
Walz said in a press briefing Monday that the virus is “not here in full force yet” and besides extending the peacetime state of emergency, he said Minnesota would ramp up efforts to test, trace, and isolate those infected.
He also said the Metro Mobility transportation service in the Twin Cities area would be launching a free transport service for those on the COVID-19 frontlines.
The service will be available 24/7 to healthcare workers.
“Metro Mobility is stepping in to help our health care workers weather the storm created by COVID-19 with free door-to-door transportation,” Walz said in a tweet.