Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, March 23, announced that he would enter self-quarantine after becoming exposed to someone with COVID-19, the illness stemming from coronavirus, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said on social media that her brother had died after contracting COVID-19 and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar reported that her husband had become infected and was battling pneumonia at a hospital in Virginia.
Walz estimated that between 40% and 80% of Minnesotans would be affected by the illness, most without severe symptoms
“Before we’re done with this, each and every one of us will be touched by this," Walz told reporters on a conference call.
Walz, who was working from the governor's residence, said he would begin working from home after he was near someone with the illness. He said he has not had any symptoms and would continue taking actions to limit the disease's spread in Minnesota.
A member of the governor's security detail tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday night and as a precaution, Walz said he would remain in self-quarantine for 14 days, through April 6. The news came just ahead of an announcement that 66 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, had been reported in Minnesota bringing the state's total cases to 235.
Gov. Doug Burgum and the North Dakota Department of Health confirmed three new cases of coronavirus. The state now has 33 known cases of COVID-19.
The department announced a Burleigh County woman in her 30s, and a Walsh county man in 70s tested positive for the virus. Information on the third person was not available.
The state lab processed so few tests Monday because the machines used to produce results are on different rotations, and some tests may not have been processed in time for the latest update, department spokeswoman Nicole Peske said.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem asked businesses and hospitals to restrict operations, Monday, March 23, as confirmed cases of the coronavirus doubled in two days. The new cases included the first findings of the virus leaping from person to person undetected.
Noem’s executive order asks, but doesn’t command, businesses to consider telework for their employees, limit non-essential travel and offer special shopping hours for those deemed particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus.
She also asked businesses such as restaurants and bars to limit gatherings of 10 or more people and switch to delivery and take-out options.
Leaders of some of the state’s cities were moving to close businesses before the governor’s executive order, as calls mounted for officials at all levels to do more to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said Monday that he will order the closure of all non-essential businesses Tuesday.
In a tweet, Evers also urged people to stay at home to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has killed four people in the state and infected at least 400, including cases in Bayfield and Douglas counties.
Evers tweeted Monday that he would be signing the order Tuesday.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Douglas County was confirmed March 20. By Monday, the number had risen to four. The state Department of Health Services reported 416 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, said Andrea Palm, secretary-designee of DHS, during a media briefing. Four in the state have died.
Around the region
Sanford Health is now set up to perform coronavirus testing and all of its clinics and hospitals will be able to send specimens with results available in 24 to 48 hours. Sanford plans to perform its own laboratory tests in Sioux Falls, S.D.
Walz on Monday issued executive orders preventing eviction proceedings from taking place until after the COVID-19 peacetime state of emergency in Minnesota has subsided. That means those who can afford to should continue paying rent, but landlords and financial institutions won't be able to initiate evictions if homeowners or tenants are unable to pay.
Walz said extensions of business and school closures would likely be "inevitable." And he said the state likely would eventually need to call for a shelter-in-place order, which would limit most Minnesotans from leaving their homes unless they were going to the grocery store, pharmacy or exercising outdoors.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota reported via social media that her husband John Bessler tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. The senator said she hasn't been in the same place as her husband since he became sick. She said she will not be tested and will continue to work.
Every state now has at least 15 confirmed cases of the illness — New York State has been hit the hardest, with more than 15,000 known cases and more than 100 deaths.
Avera’s laboratory in Sioux Falls has been verified by the South Dakota Department of Health to perform COVID-19 testing, according to a news release. The additional testing site will allow for the processing of up to 200 tests per day.
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