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Editorial roundup: COVID-19 Minnesota response has been thoughtful, urgent

Minnesotans should have confidence in the response Gov. Tim Walz, his team and the Legislature have made to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The approach to gathering resources and know-how has been developed with teamwork among agencies, partnerships with powerful private sector players and support and oversight by a bipartisan Legislature.

The plan has been based on a scientific, data-driven approach with the help of Minnesota’s best strategic minds.

University of Minnesota and state health department experts have created a data driven model that shows how social distancing will be the biggest determinant of being able to handle the crisis that is coming. Private sector experts in supply chains are working with the Walz administration to secure protective equipment and ventilators. Mayo Clinic is working with the state on tests that can tell who might be immune to COVID-19. Abbott Labs has a 15-minute test in the works that Minnesota will soon be using.

All of the pieces are in place for a strategy to buy time to prepare for an influx of cases, prepare for those cases with adequate supplies and work on strategies to isolate the most vulnerable and test others who might be able to then return to work or school.

Walz told Minnesotans in a Friday update via You Tube that the social distancing is working and he advised us to “not let our guard down.” It’s buying time for the health care system to get ready. Walz thanked Minnesotans for practicing social distancing knowing it is stressful and agonizing.

Walz also unveiled a new coronavirus website dashboard (www.mn.gov/covid19) to show Minnesota the progress the state was making on things like securing supplies and other readiness measures.

The new website is part of a solid communication strategy that the Walz administration has developed that gives Minnesotans and the media the information they need to get an accurate picture of the pandemic in Minnesota.

The department of health wisely changed its strategy of not disclosing long-term care facilities where there were COVID-19 cases. While it won’t disclose cases in facilities of less than 10 people to maintain privacy, it will give information on other facilities and their caseloads.

This information is not only important for the public, but for the families who have loved ones in those facilities.

And to his credit, Walz seems willing to change strategy when the data and circumstances warrant.

Walz urged Minnesotans to stay the course, stay informed with facts and fight the pandemic as “One Minnesota.”

Minnesotans are being well served by the state strategy to combat COVID-19.

 

— The Free Press of Mankato, April 3