Governor Walz Reveals Desired Benchmarks for Ending COVID-19 Emergency
This week Governor Walz laid out, perhaps for the first time since issuing the peacetime emergency order, his desired benchmarks for ending the COVID-19 peacetime emergency and business restrictions in Minnesota. The peacetime emergency order has now been in place for around six months.
Walz said that he hopes to see declines in positive tests for COVID-19 and community outbreaks. In an ideal world, Walz would like to see the community spread rate under 20% and the test positivity rate under 4. With numbers like that, Walz said he would feel good about life returning, for the most part, back to normal.
Although Walz’s original estimates for infection rates never came to pass, Walz is content with the actions Minnesota has taken thus far to slow the spread. As of this week, Minnesota’s community transmission rate was 35% and the positivity rate was 4.8%. While there has been a decline in the positivity rate, the community transmission rate still indicates that the virus is spreading beyond the state’s ability to track it. Community tracing will be key to moving forward with reopening the state.
The Twin Cities has continued to be an outlier in comparison to other United States metropolitan areas, having never seen a huge spike in cases. For now, Minnesota has seen a steady plateau of cases, but no large increases. Additionally, hospital resources have rebounded, allowing time to prepare for the flu season along with COVID-19 this winter. Although Minnesota is not yet back to absolute normalcy, Walz hopes to get there in the near future.