As of Friday, Nov. 20, new measures are being put into place regarding how Minnesota is responding to the latest COVID situation in the state. Calling it the “Dial Back” order, the governor’s office is trying to stem the tide of alarming COVID cases by instituting this new executive order. The order is expected to be in place for four weeks.
As Governor Walz pointed out in a recent media briefing, it took Minnesota 29 weeks to get the first 100,000 cases, and it took only the next six weeks to get to 200,000. He estimated it will take less than 3 weeks to get to 300,000. The number of people in the state who are hospitalized is the highest number since the pandemic began. “We are at a breaking point,” Walz said.
Please remember that yes, the state is doing far more testing than ever, so it would stand to reason more cases are being discovered. But it’s the percentage of cases per tests administered that is the key number. And, hospitals, emergency rooms, and urgent care facilities can attest to the other indicators of a surge of COVID cases and illnesses: more sick people, more hospitalizations.
Governor Walz said that if cases continue to go up at this rate, hospitals throughout the state will quickly run out of room and personnel. He noted that in some hospitals, COVID-19 patients are already taking up half the beds, and pointed out that increases in hospitalizations and deaths usually lag several weeks behind increases in infection rates.
The dominoes effect of this is much more than getting ill with COVID-19. It’s healthcare systems being deluged with patients that many facilities will not have the staff resources to care for. And it’s the other emergency illnesses that will be jockeying for attention (and ICU beds) at the same time.
What we know is that the most dangerous activities are indoor gatherings with multiple, unmasked people who are close together for an extended period of time. The new executive order seeks to address those kinds of activities, and many others.
Most importantly, the guidance states that social gatherings are not allowed unless they are with members of your own household, even if social distancing can be maintained.
The new executive order has directives for other types of activities, school sports, eating establishments, etc. To find out more, go here: https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/stay-safe-mn/stay-safe-plan.jsp