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With virus on rise, Walz promotes mask distribution

MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz planned to visit a suburban Minneapolis packaging facility Wednesday to publicize the state’s effort to distribute 4 million masks as confirmed cases of the coronavirus continued to edge slowly upward.

Tim Walz

Walz and other state officials were visiting Liberty Packaging in Brooklyn Park just days after the governor issued a statewide mandate for masks in public spaces to help slow the spread of the virus.

Minnesota has seen an uptick in new daily cases in recent weeks, though not as steep as many other states. On Wednesday, health officials reported 681 new confirmed cases of the virus, slightly below the 14-day average, and nine new deaths.

Hospitalizations climbed back above 300, including 143 in intensive care, for the first time since late last month following a rise in cases in recent weeks.