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Walz says Minnesota will pass 1,000 COVID-19 deaths on Friday

The Minnesota Department of Health calls on the public to reduce the risk of spread as protests continue.

Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday, May 23. Photo: Evan Frost, MPR News/Pool Photo

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Health reported 29 new COVID-19-related deaths and Gov. Tim Walz said that the state will pass 1,000 deaths on Friday, May 29.

"It was about three weeks ago I stood in front of you as we passed 500 deaths by COVID-19 and said that on the 29th of May we will pass 1,000," Walz said at a Friday morning news conference. "That will happen today."

He also added that the number of cases are down and that intensive care unit bed capacity is stable.

While recognizing Minnesotans' desire for life to return to normal, Walz said that "normal" is not the answer, citing the recent death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer continued to dig their knee into his neck for nearly eight minutes while Floyd said he couldn't breath.

"Normal is not working for many communities," Walz said. "Normal was not working for George Floyd pre-COVID-19. It’s certainly not working now.”


In a statement from Minnesota Department of Health, Commissioner Jan Malcolm referred to the structural racism that led to the death of George Floyd as a "fundamental public health challenge that expresses itself in many ways, from negative impacts on the lives of individuals and families to persistent community-level health disparities."

She added: "We must continue our work to address this long-standing stain on our communities, our state and our country."

As protests continue to unfold for the fourth day in Minneapolis, drawing many from outside the area, Malcolm said it's critical people take the steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 to protect themselves and others by wearing masks and maintaining social distance as much as possible.

"We are also concerned about the continued disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on people of color in our state," Malcolm's statement read. "We need the help of everyone involved to prevent additional suffering and preventable death by following the public health guidelines to limit COVID-19 spread."

Of the 29 COVID-19-related deaths reported Friday, twelve of them occurred among Hennepin County residents and four deaths were recorded among residents in Anoka County. Five people died in Ramsey County, two people died in both Dakota and Nicollet counties and one person died in each of the following counties: Itasca, Nobles, Stearns and Washington.

One Anoka County resident and the Nobles County resident were both in their 40s. The Stearns County resident was in their 50s. Three people in their 60s died, five people were in their 70s, six were in their 80s, 11 were in their 90s and one was at least 100 years old.

On Friday, the Health Department reported 590 new cases across the state and the completion of 8,665 more diagnostic tests.

Among the new cases, seven are in central Minnesota's Todd County, bringing the total number of cases confirmed through lab-based testing to 302. Ten new cases were reported in Kandiyohi County, home to Willmar. The total number of cases that have been confirmed there is now 486.


Of the 23,531 people who have tested positive in Minnesota over the past several weeks, 16,930 no longer need to be isolated and that number does not include deaths.

The number of people in an intensive care unit rose by 17 since Thursday, with 259 people in ICU. The highest number of ICU admissions so far was 260 on Wednesday. As of Friday, an additional 333 Minnesotans are hospitalized outside of an ICU setting.

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Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 651-201-3920.

COVID-19 discrimination hotline: 833-454-0148

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 website: Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) website .

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