Gov. Tim Walz said Friday that his stay-at-home order has been successful in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Minnesota but that “the danger is still here,” as he urged residents to keep up the efforts.
“I want to be just very clear. I know these actions are painful,” Walz said in a 23-minute live video address on Friday afternoon. “They’re painful both social-isolation wise, and they are painful economically to many of you. The stress and disruption you’re feeling is unprecedented.”
It’s been a week since Walz implemented the mandatory stay-at-home order, requiring Minnesotans to remain in their homes for all but a few essential reasons, shuttering most businesses and closing schools likely for the remainder of the academic year.
Walz said he understands that for many Minnesotans, worry may be compounded by not knowing when the current measures will end or understanding the plan behind them. To that end, he unveiled a website, mn.gov/covid19, with a dashboard of information on the spread of the illness in Minnesota and steps the state is taking to mitigate the health and economic impact.
The site, to be updated daily, includes latest counts of how many Minnesotans have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and in what counties, number of fatalities and number of people who have recovered, and tips on trying to avoid catching it.
It also includes links to resources for those suffering economic challenges, and Walz said the site would also include updates on the state’s inventory of ventilators and other medical equipment that’s important to both treatment and reducing the spread of the disease.
“A lot of folks are not putting out this information, because they are afraid it will create a sense of panic,” Walz said. “You can see on here, we need more of these things. We need to continue to get them, we need them produced, we need the supply chain to work. It’s no secret either that there’s somewhat of a disconnect between the federal strategic stockpile, and what the states have.”
Walz said a major focus of his current work is obtaining those needed supplies. The stay-home and social-distancing orders, by slowing the rate of infection, are giving the state more time to make those procurements, he said.
“You are buying us the time,” Walz said. “So you have an expectation, if you’ve given us that time, what is it buying us?”
He also praised the support he has received in the Legislature, where some GOP lawmakers have voiced concerns about the impact of his school and business closings on the state economy. He promised to adjust his mandates to changing conditions. “We will never allow ideology to get in the way of the facts,” Walz said. “If facts change that don’t support the ideology, we’re changing the ideology.”
He also made an oblique reference to the disputes that have emerged between the Trump administration and the nation’s governors over the availability of critical ventilators. “It’s no secret that there’s somewhat of a disconnect between the federal strategic stockpile and what the states have,” Walz said. “My job as governor is to find a way to get these, and that’s what we’re doing.”