News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: March 5, 2021

Tomorrow Marks One-Year Anniversary of COVID in Minnesota

One year ago tomorrow (March 6), Minnesota reported its first case of COVID-19. In the year since, there have been a series of life-changing decisions that have been made as Minnesota and the world have adjusted to a year under the cloud of COVID.

It’s been a year of challenges in Minnesota, from business closures to runs of key grocery store items that broke the supply chains. One the one-year anniversary of COVID, here is a timeline of the events as the pandemic took shape in Minnesota.

March 6 – First case of COVID-19 reported in Minnesota

March 11 – The World Health Organization declares that COVID-19 is a pandemic after confirmed cases are found in more than 100 countries.

March 12 – The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) first discusses “community mitigation,” the precursor to shutting down the state

March 13 – The first case of COVID is reported in Wright County

March 13 – President Donald Trump declares a national state of emergency

March 13 – Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declares a state of peacetime emergency, which gives his office more powers to make decisions in response to COVID-19 without Legislative approval

March 13 – Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm explains “social distancing” guidelines, which, at the time, were to avoid crowds, keep a six-foot distance from others, sneeze into your elbow and increased hand washing/sanitizing.

March 15 – Walz announces that schools will be closed for eight days in preparation to begin distance learning

March 15 – The first “community transmission” case is reported in Minnesota – someone who contracted COVID without traveling to another state or country

March 17 – At 5 p.m., Walz orders all bars and restaurants to close

March 17 – Walz signs an Executive Order that allows the newly unemployed in industries that were closed to immediately qualify for unemployment benefits. In the first week of the closure, more than 100,000 Minnesotans file for unemployment – more than five times the previous one-week record

March 21 – The first reported death of a Minnesotan from COVID-19 is announced

March 25 – Walz announces a “Stay at Home” order for most Minnesotans beginning at 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 27 and ending at 5 p.m. Friday, April 10

March 26 – The State Legislature meets in a one-day session to approve another $330 million in COVID-19 response funding

March 26 – The U.S. Congress approves a $2.2 trillion stimulus package (CARES Act) that includes $1,200 stimulus checks to individuals who make less than $75,000 a year. Wright County receives $16.5 million in CARES Act funding and the county board approves giving approximately $7 million of those funds to schools, small business, non-profits and affiliate groups

March 27 – The “Stay at Home” order begins

April 1 – Due to tainted test kits sent out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a severe shortage in testing kits don’t allow people with symptoms to know if they have contracted the virus

April 3 – MDH launches a grass roots program for residents to make homemade masks because of a severe shortage of personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers

April 5 – Walz conducts his State of the State annual address, urging residents to stay at home as much possible to mitigate the spread of the virus

April 7 – The 1,000th confirmed case in Minnesota is reported, but, due to a lack of available COVID-19 tests, the actual figure is deemed to be higher

April 8 – Walz extends his the Stay at Home order for 21 more days

April 8 – Secretary of State Steve Simon unsuccessfully asks the Legislature to approve making the August primary elections 100 percent mail-in balloting if the pandemic is still on the rise

April 10 – MDH releases its first long-term projection dealing with COVID-19, estimating that between 22,000 and 50,000 Minnesotans will die from the pandemic

April 11 – The first death of a Wright County resident attributed to COVID-19 is announced

April 14 – The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announces that more than 450,000 Minnesotans applied for unemployment benefits in one month

April 17 – Walz announces the loosening of restrictions for outdoor activities in places like parks, trails and golf courses

April 17 – An outbreak at the JBS Pork plant in Worthington becomes the single-largest employment related outbreak in the country to date

April 22 – The state allocates $36 million to the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to increase the availability of COVID-19 tests in the state

April 23 – Walz announces that schools will continue with distance learning for the rest of the 2019-20 school year

April 30 – Walz extends the Stay at Home order, which was scheduled to expire May 4, through May 18

May 6 – MDH announces the first of many versions of a Contact Tracing Plan, identifying those who have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 in a public setting

May 7 – The state announces a plan to isolate residents of nursing homes and congregate care facilities when it has become apparent that they are the most likely to die from contracting COVID.

May 8 – Walz announces that high schools and colleges can’t conduct in-person graduation ceremonies

May 8 – Minnesota announces the 10,000th confirmed COVID-19 case

May 11 – Minnesota receives its first shipment of a COVID-19 drug (Remdesivir), which is touted as shortening recovery time for COVID patients

May 13 – Walz announces that the Stay at Home order will be allowed to expire May 18, but he will extend the peacetime emergency declaration another 30 days

May 13 – Walz announces businesses and stores can begin to re-open, but bars, restaurants, theatres and gyms will remain closed

May 13 – The first COVID-19 cluster contraction is identified in a Wright County business

May 20 – Walz announces restaurants can re-open for outdoor dining and loosens restrictions on outdoor recreational business, campsites, barber shops and salons beginning June 1

May 21 – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey becomes the first Minnesota official to sign an executive order requiring face masks to be worn in public settings in the city

May 22 – The State Fair Board announces that the Minnesota State Fair has been cancelled

May 23 – Walz announces that church services can resume, but with a limit of 25 people

May 25 – George Floyd dies after being taken down by Minneapolis Police, sparking riots and massive protests, which has MDH officials fearing a “super-spreader” event that doesn’t materialize

May 28 – 35 deaths are reported in Minnesota – the highest single-day total to date

May 30 – The COVID-19 death toll in Minnesota reaches 1,000 

June 3 – At a meeting of the Wright County Fair Board, it is announced that the 150th county fair will be cancelled

June 5 – Indoor dining at bars and restaurants resumes, with a capacity limit of 50 percent placed on them

June 10 – Wright County Public Health urges anyone who attended mass gatherings in the aftermath of Floyd’s murder to get tested for COVID

June 12 – Walz extends peacetime emergency

June 29 – Following a dramatic increases in cases traced back to bars, Walz threatens to close bars down for a second time

July 13 – Walz extends peacetime emergency

July 15 – The 500th confirmed case of COVID in Wright County is announced

July 22 – Walz announces a statewide mask mandate in all public spaces and businesses

July 30 – Walz gives schools the option to choose whether to hold classes in-person or continue with distance learning

Aug. 4 – The Minnesota State High School League announces that most fall sports will be delayed

Aug. 11 – The Minnesota primary election is held, shattering records for those voting absentee and by mail

Aug. 12 – Walz extends peacetime emergency

Aug. 25 – MDH announces that the state will open its first laboratory in Minnesota to process COVID-19 saliva tests

Sept. 11 – Walz extends peacetime emergency

Sept. 22 – The first pilot project for saliva COVID testing begins

Sept. 26 – The state announces that more than 2,000 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19

Oct. 1 – MDH announces Minnesota has topped 100,000 COVID-19 cases

Oct. 2 – After a campaign stop in Minnesota, President Trump tests positive for COVID-19

Oct. 12 – Walz extends peacetime emergency

Oct. 16 – MDH recommends dialing back the re-opening of many businesses and gatherings after numbers have begun to show a significant uptick in positive cases

Oct. 21 – MDH announces its initial plan for distributing a vaccine when it becomes available

Oct. 22 – Walz announces the first at-home COVID-19 saliva test project

Nov. 3 – The general election is held with record numbers of votes being cast and Minnesota and throughout the country, including shattering the previous record for absentee and mail-in voting

Nov. 8 – MDH announces a massive increase in new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths

Nov. 9 – At a press conference, Walz hints that if cases continue to rise at the alarming rate they have over the previous few weeks, the state will consider a second shutdown of bars and restaurants

Nov. 10 – Walz announces that bars and restaurants must close to in-person service at 10 p.m. daily and that social gatherings must be limited to 10 people or less

Nov. 12 – Walz extends the peacetime emergency

Nov. 18 – Walz announces the closure of all in-person activity at bars, restaurants and gyms, as well as a ban on social gatherings outside those in one’s immediate family as part of a four-week dial back. 

Nov. 27 – Minnesota reports 101 COVID-19 deaths – the highest single-day total since the pandemic began

Dec. 10 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives approval to a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer

Dec. 14 – Walz extends the peacetime emergency

Dec. 14 – The State Legislature approves on a Small Business Relief Grant program. Wright County receives $2.7 million to assist local small businesses

Dec. 15 – The first Minnesotan is vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine

Dec. 16 – After two months of surges, MDH announces that new cases are in decline

Dec. 16 – Walz and school officials announce a plan to partially open schools, beginning with kindergarten through 5th grade

Dec. 16 – Walz extends the four-week dial back of activities, including bar and restaurant closures

Dec. 18 – The FDA approves a vaccine made by Moderna for emergency use

Dec. 21 – The U.S. Congress approves a $900 billion COVID relief package that includes $600 stimulus payments to most Americans

Dec. 24 – Minnesota tops 5,000 COVID-related deaths

Jan. 6 – Walz announces that bars and restaurants can re-open at 50 percent capacity and loosens restrictions on church services, gyms, sporting events and theatres

Jan. 8 – MDH announces that more than 100,000 Minnesotans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Jan. 9 – Minnesota reports the first confirmed case of a United Kingdom variant of COVID-19. The variant is considered to be more easily transmitted

Jan. 13 – Walz extends the peacetime emergency

Jan. 25 – MDH announces its first confirmed case of a Brazilian COVID-19 variant, which is thought to be more easily transmitted

Jan. 29 – For the first time in almost four months, Minnesota’s seven-day case average falls below the 5 percent “caution” designation

Feb. 8 – MDH announces that more than 10 percent of Minnesota residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Feb. 12 – Walz extends the peacetime emergency

Feb. 12 – Walz announces the loosening of restrictions on bars and restaurants, signing an Executive Order that allows more people to be served in restaurants and private events like wedding receptions to a limit of 50

Feb. 16 – MDH announces that the number of new cases in nursing homes and congregate care facilities has dropped sharply after most residents and staff have been vaccinated

Feb. 17 – Walz announces that all middle school and high school students can return to in-person learning as long as schools maintain safety protocols

Feb. 25 – MDH announces a schedule for determining what groups are in line to get a vaccine before other groups, which will begin when 70 percent of Minnesotans 65 or over have been given the opportunity to be vaccinated

Feb. 27 – The FDA approves a vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson for emergency use that will be able to be administered in one shot. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots

March 3 – The first Johnson & Johnson vaccines start being administered in Minnesota

A year ago at this time, Minnesotans didn’t know what they were in for when it came to COVID-19. A year later, the landscape of our lives have been changed – perhaps forever – and the hope is that the events of the last year will fade into memory sooner than later.

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