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Gov. Walz calls special session to extend peacetime emergency

The special session will begin Thursday. It comes after a week of record-setting highs in cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the coronavirus.
Credit: KARE 11

ST PAUL, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz announced on Monday he's calling for another special session of the Minnesota Legislature, starting Thursday, to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days.

This will be the sixth special session of 2020. It comes after a week of record-setting highs in cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to the coronavirus.

“This is a dangerous phase of this pandemic. We’re in the midst of a surge in case positivity and hospitalizations,” said Gov. Walz in a press release. “Extending the Peacetime Emergency will help ensure we have the tools we need to respond quickly to protect Minnesotans’ health and well-being.”

Gov. Walz also said on Monday, while speaking at the Minneapolis Convention Center, that he intends to implement new "surgical" dial-back measures targeting young adults — ages 18 to 35 — as they continue to be the group responsible for the largest amount of virus spread in Minnesota.

"Eighteen to 35-year-olds that are asymptomatic, that's the heart and soul of where this is spreading," Walz said. "These are healthy folks that might not even know they have it, and where they are congregating, they are acting as the spreader or the nucleus of where this is coming out of, and ... taking it into places like long-term care, like hospitals, like schools."

He clarified that his administration isn't necessarily looking at a second statewide shutdown.

RELATED: Walz to make COVID-19 dial-back announcement Tuesday, says it will target young adults

Minnesota's case positivity rate is more than 10%, which is more than twice the level at which health officials consider COVID-19 spread "controllable."

“We are still in an emergency, and it’s getting more urgent,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan in a press release. “With positivity rates, hospitalizations, and deaths rising, we have to be prepared to protect Minnesotans over this long winter.”

According to a press release from Gov. Walz's office, Minnesota's peacetime emergency is consistent with the national emergency that was declared by President Donald Trump and the peacetime emergencies implemented in 48 other states. These emergency orders allow governors and other officials the ability to quickly respond to the fluid COVID-19 situation.

On Monday, Walz introduced a "significant expansion" in testing that was made possible by the peacetime emergency, according to the press release.