Minnesota reported 5,102 new COVID-19 cases and a record-high 67 deaths Wednesday.
November has been a grim month for Minnesota, as cases, hospitalizations and deaths climb. The state’s death toll has topped 3,000, and more than 242,000 Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID-19.
The state’s positivity rate has surpassed 15% — triple the rate that indicates controlled spread of the virus. Officials say community spread is rampant, and hospitals statewide are strained as growing numbers of health care workers are unable to work due to COVID-19 infection or exposure.
Gov. Tim Walz is expected Wednesday evening to announce new restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, including a monthlong closure of restaurants, bars and gyms, the Star Tribune reported. Restaurants will still be able to offer takeout.
Minnesotans who have been affected by the coronavirus — including a former Republican lawmaker — joined Walz for a media briefing Tuesday to urge people to stay vigilant against COVID-19 through the holidays.
Former state Rep. Nick Zerwas, a Republican who represented Elk River from 2013-2019, is still recovering from COVID-19. Zerwas was hospitalized with the virus last week and said he was “stunned” at how quickly he became seriously ill.
Zerwas was a vocal critic of the stay-at-home order in the spring, but Minnesota is facing a drastically different situation now, he said.
“Everything has changed. The virus is here,” he said. “If we don’t act now, God help us.”