Gov. Tim Walz took another unprecedented step in aiming to curb the threat of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, which has taken one Minnesota life and has a dozen others hospitalized.
The Governor issued a Stay at Home Executive Order Wednesday, March 25, 2020, citing a multitude of factors, not the least of which was an effort to lessen the burden on the state’s healthcare system. Walz pointed to a limited number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds statewide, which are needed for the most serious cases of COVID-19.
“What we’re learning is that the peak of the infection can create a scenario like we’ve seen in Italy, where our healthcare systems don’t have the resources to save those who are the sickest. The ICU care can increase the survival rate by 10 times. That’s space we need,” he said.
The isolation order, given at a virutal press conference as the Governor himself is quarantined due to exposure to the virus, also ordered an extended closure on bars and restaurants through May 1, though they can still offer drive-through and curbside pickup service, as they have over the past week.
Schools will also utilize distance learning – a process they’ve been planning for over the past two weeks – until the end of April, with Walz “hopeful” to have staff back in buildings by Friday, May 1 and students back in classrooms by May 4, 2020.
“We are resilient,” Walz said. “We’re doing this better than any other state. We know that from some hard evidence and some anecdotal stuff that is out there. We will get through this together, as Minnesotans.”
Some highlights of the order: