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Deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota double in a week

Plus: Wisconsin reports largest single-day rise in cases so far; Walz authorizes out-of-state health care workers to assist in coronavirus hotspots; more protests at governor’s residence; and more.

In the Star Tribune, Christopher Snowbeck writes: “It took 28 days for Minnesota to lose 121 people to COVID-19. It took just seven more for the count to double. State health officials announced 23 more deaths Saturday, pushing the statewide total to 244 since the first Minnesotan to die from the virus was reported March 21. People living in long-term care facilities accounted for all but one of the fatalities announced Saturday and three-quarters of all deaths in the state thus far.”

The Associated Press reports: “Wisconsin health officials said Saturday that 331 tests for the coronavirus have come back positive in the last 24 hours, the largest single-day rise since the outbreak started. An additional four people have died. The update raises the total number of positive cases to 5,687 and the statewide deaths to 266. State Department of Health Services data shows that 24 percent of infected people have been hospitalized.”

For KSTP-TV, Kyle Brown reports: “In an executive order signed on Saturday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz authorized out-of-state health care professionals to assist in coronavirus hotspots during the state’s peacetime state of emergency. … Now, for the duration of the peacetime emergency, any health care worker who holds an active and relevant license or certification anywhere in the United States can work at a health care provider in Minnesota.” 

For MPR, Colin Dwyer writes: “The World Health Organization has pushed back against the theory that individuals can only catch the coronavirus once, as well as proposals for reopening society that are based on this supposed immunity. In a scientific brief dated Friday, the United Nations agency said the idea that one-time infection can lead to immunity remains unproven and is thus unreliable as a foundation for the next phase of the world’s response to the pandemic.”

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WCCO-TV’s Erin Hassanzadeh reports: “On Saturday, dozens gathered outside the governor’s residence calling for Minnesota to reopen. ‘I decided to come out today because I want to rally for freedom over fear,” said demonstrator Laura Witty. … Along Summit Avenue Saturday, demonstrators urged the governor to loosen COVID-19 restrictions.”

Duluth’s WDIO has this: “U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) joined  a group of 22 Democratic senators in sending a letter to Senate leaders Saturday, asking that they address resources to meet domestic and sexual violence survivors’ urgent housing need. ‘Communities need a surge of resources to meet survivors’ diverse housing needs, increase the capacity of local programs to address those needs, and be responsive to the housing availability in each community, the senators wrote.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Glenn Howatt reports: “Posted on the walls of a nerve center inside the Minnesota Department of Health headquarters are dozens of sheets of paper identifying people who have tested positive for COVID-19. … As case counts surge with more testing and the wall space fills up, there aren’t enough investigators to keep up with the work, which involves a detailed interview with the infected individual and another round of calls to family members, friends and co-workers who may have been exposed.”