Thursday September 17, 2020
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz put his face mask at the conclusion of a press conference in July announcing the learning plan for Minnesota schools for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. AARON LAVINSKY - STAR TRIBUNE
Minneapolis (HOL) - Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has asked both presidential candidates to comply with Minnesota's COVID-19 safety guidelines ahead of planned campaign stops in the state this week.
The Democratic governor wrote to President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden's campaigns to ask them to abide by Minnesota's rules about masks, social distancing and crowd sizes.
"As the election nears, Minnesotans look forward to hearing from political candidates about their vision for our state and country," Walz wrote. "While we welcome the opportunity for Minnesotans to participate in democracy, we ask that your events comply with our state's COVID-19 safety guidelines. Partner with us in the fight against COVID-19."
Both candidates are expected to visit Minnesota on Friday, with the President holding a hangar rally in Bemidji Airport at 4 PM. Joe Biden is scheduled to make his first campaign stop in the state with a trip to a union training centre in Duluth. Trump visited Minnesota in August when he gave speeches at MSP Airport and in Mankato.
"Please demonstrate that you value Minnesota by protecting the health of our communities. Join us in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep our businesses open, and get back to the activities we love," Walz wrote.
Minnesota discourages gatherings of more than 250 people in a single space. However, Walz said that it is possible to increase attendance without the spirit of the policy.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said on Wednesday that seven more residents have died of COVID-19, Wednesday, for a total of 1,933.
It added that of those people who passed away, one was over 100 years old, two were in their 80s, three were in their 60s, and one was in their 50s. Three of the seven deaths announced Wednesday were among residents of long-term care facilities.
Long-term care facilities remain the epicentre of the virus, with 1,402 of the 1,933 COVID-19 deaths coming from residents of long-term care.
MDH also said Wednesday there had been 85,813 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota. The number of confirmed cases is up 462 from Tuesday's count and is based on 9,910 new tests.
Since the onset of the pandemic, 7,019 Minnesotans have been hospitalized, and 244 are currently in the hospital, 136 in intensive care.