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Mayo doctor weighs in on Gov. Walz’s assessment of COVID-19 situation

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- As of Tuesday, Minnesota had 262 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Seven of those patients are in an intensive care unit.

According to Gov. Tim Walz, are just 243 ICU beds statewide.

"Bending the curve, stretching out the infectious rates over a period of time to not overwhelm them beds is really the story that's at the heart of this," Walz said.

Mayo Clinic doctor Stacey Rizza said people can spread the virus before showing symptoms, which can make it difficult to figure out when some patients get infected.

"People can be shedding (contagious) the virus for many days before they become symptomatic. On average, people become symptomatic five days after they become infected. And it certainly can go longer or shorter and people can be shedding the virus the whole time," she said.

Walz believes infection numbers will most likely keep rising, saying on Monday, "40 to 80 percent of us will eventually get this."

Dr. Rizza agrees saying, "It is very feasible that, that number of people will become infected. I completely agree with the perspective. But that is over a long period of time. Months to years."

The Minnesota Department of Health has tested nearly 6,000 people who've experienced COVID-19 symptoms. Walz said those tests make a difference.

"Testing still matters it matters when someone has symptoms and really needs to be seen. It also matters for us to get a better picture of what's happening," he said.

Health officials hope tests will be developed that can prove someone is infected before they show symptoms.

"I think the biggest challenge is having tests that is going to be well validated in the asymptomatic state," she said.

As the rates rise Walz said he appreciates Minnesotans taking measures seriously.

"It appears that Minnesotans are social distancing better, there seems to be some cell phone data and other quantifiable data that shows that that is happening. And that Minnesotans are taking this seriously," he said.

For daily updates on statewide COVID-19 cases, check the Minnesota Department of Health website.

KaMaria Braye

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