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Governor should stay the course on COVID-19

Minnesota has been under a stay-at-home order since March 27. And for the past month, most of us have been practicing social distancing habits.

Our senior care centers have been in lockdown, banning all visitors. Our students will finish the school year with distance learning methods. More and more shoppers can be seen wearing face masks inside the area grocery stores, or taking advantage of online ordering and picking up goods outside. Our church services have been conducted virtually. And most of us have refrained from large gatherings with friends and family.

How do we know for sure it’s all working?

Many health experts believe Minnesotans have slowed the progression of the virus spread. Throughout the whole process, Walz has shown consistent and steady leadership as he follows the recommendations from the state’s health experts. But with economic pressures mounting, the criticisms of the stay-at-home order has grown louder and louder. Recently, protesters rallied in St. Paul calling for the lifting of the shutdown of restaurants and other retail businesses.

Even here in Lyon County and surrounding counties, the number of positive cases have been relatively low. Lyon has been holding steady at 6 cases for a week. Yellow Medicine is at three and Lincoln is at 2. Cases in Murray County have recently soared from just a couple to 10.

Some insight on the current situation was provided by the Tyler Tribute last week when it published an interview with Dr. Daniel Florey of Tyler Avera. He suggested the governor will take a lot of heat if he has indeed done the right thing.

=“If the governor is 100% successful with what he is trying to do, it is going to look like he made a big deal about nothing. If he is successful, there is going to be an absence of serious illness and infections. People will say, ‘well, what did you do all of that shelter-in-place stuff for?’ “ Florey said.

Florey urged residents not to read too much into the low number of cases in the region.

“We don’t really honestly know how many cases there are in Lincoln County,” he said. “We are a long way from having the testing capacity to say how many infections there are or have been in Lincoln County.”

We should keep Florey’s comments in mind as we approach another major decision by Walz on extending or easing of the shelter-in-place order. Last week, Walz announced the loosening of some of the restrictions at 20,000 industrial, manufacturing and office settings that don’t have face-to-face contact with the public. That’s really good news.

Walz said that decision was made after analyzing the data shared by his health experts.

The present order expires May 4. We urge Walz to continue his approach of following the advice of the health experts and analyzing the present data.

That will probably mean a gradual approach to loosening up more restrictions. It’s a better safe than sorry approach.

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