Governor in quarantine

While Itasca County has yet to confirm a positive case of COVID-19, St. Louis County is reporting a second case and Cass County has one case, as state totals rose to 262 Tuesday, according to data from the Minnesota Health Department (MDH). A week ago, the number was at 54.

This Monday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that he entered self-quarantine for 14 days after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement, Walz said he will lead by example and work from home.

“The most important thing Minnesotans can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home,” said Governor Walz. “I’m using this as an opportunity to lead by example. Though I’m feeling healthy and not showing any symptoms, I’m going to work from home and model the protocol we are asking all Minnesotans to follow.”

A member of Walz’s security detail tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday night. The governor was in “close proximity” to the person last week and was informed of the contact Monday morning. Walz is not showing any symptoms, according to the release and plans to end his self-quarantine on Monday, April 6.

The MDH numbers issued Monday represented the biggest one-day jump in cases at 66. The approximate number of completed tests submitted to the MDH public health lab as of Tuesday was 5,812. The state has seen one death associated with COVID-19, a total of 21 people have been hospitalized with 15 remaining in the hospital as of March 24. Of the total of 262 positive cases, 88 of those patients no longer need to be isolated. St. Louis County’s first case was announced Saturday with nearby Cass County reporting its first case Sunday.

Cass County Public Health officials will not be releasing where in Cass County the resident resides.

“The resident is currently isolated at home,” said Jeri Seegmiller, County Team leader with Cass County Health Human and Veteran Services. “People identified positive will be asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure date and should monitor for worsening symptoms.”

St. Louis County officials said the county’s first case is associated with a woman in her late 60s who is currently recovering in isolation at home. Her infection is linked to domestic travel, and not the result of community transmission.

“We have been acting on the assumption that we have COVID-19 and that it hasn’t been identified,” said Amy Westbrook, division director for St. Louis County Public Health and Human Services on their preparations for the coronavirus in a livestreamed news conference Saturday.

St. Louis County officials have not indicated whether the two cases are related or whether either case is located in the northern or southern portion of the county, citing patient privacy.

According to the governor’s Monday press release, Walz will continue to oversee the state’s response to COVID-19, a respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, a situation the administration planned for “regardless of which location the Governor is working from.”

“I’m grateful for the State of Minnesota’s sophisticated emergency management operation that allows me to govern and respond to crises from the Minnesota Governor’s Residence,” Walz said. “We will continue to communicate with Minnesotans about our quick and aggressive work to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

Walz continues to join the Minnesota Department of Health during its daily press briefing at 2 p.m., by teleconference. He has signed an executive order to activate the Minnesota National Guard for the state’s COVID-19 response.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said Monday that her brother Ron died after contracting COVID-19 in Tennessee.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar also announced Monday morning that her husband, John Bessler, tested positive for the coronavirus.

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