Walz laments Minnesota record of 101 COVID-19 deaths, urges ramped-up vigilance

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WKBT) — Gov. Tim Walz decried Minnesota’s record number of 101 COVID-19 deaths reported Friday, bringing the state to 3,476 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The previous record was 72 deaths in a single day, which was tallied Wednesday and on several other days, according to state health officials.

“This Thanksgiving, many Minnesotans set their holiday table smaller than they normally do. Many chose to do so to protect their family from the spread of COVID-19,” Walz said.

“But for the more than 3,000 families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, it wasn’t a choice. Those chairs will always remain empty,” the governor said.

“As we hit this somber milestone, we owe those families a promise. We must promise them that their loved ones did not die in vain. We must honor them by fighting this virus at every turn. We must redouble our efforts to protect one another,” Walz said.

The number of deaths reported Friday includeed residents from 39 of the state’s 87 counties, according to Minnesota Health Department data.

“This is a sad development, but it is not a surprising development,” said a statement from state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “For weeks, we have been sounding the alarm about the dramatic growth in COVID-19 cases. We know that more cases leads to more hospitalizations and deaths, and today’s news reinforces that tragic pattern.”

Sixty-four of the deaths were among residents of long-term care and assisted-living facilities, and 90 were residents age 70 and older. The youngest to die was a Hennepin County resident between 25 and 29, according to state data.