ST. PAUL — It's been two weeks since Minnesota health officials reported the first case of coronavirus.

And for many, the ongoing changes, reports of new diagnoses and ongoing news of local, state and federal action on the matter have made it feel much longer.

Day-by-day as more people got tested, the numbers grew. From one to two in early days up to the most recent total of 115 positives in Minnesota. That likely doesn't tell the whole story, health officials said.

Because of a lack of available test, testing has become focused on medical providers, vulnerable populations and those in the hospital. And while current test results show community transmission happened in just a handful of counties, Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann said on Friday, March 20, that COVID-19, the illness stemming from coronavirus, is likely popping up all over the state undiagnosed.

Meanwhile, state and federal officials have started moving to limit the spread of COVID-19, approving emergency funding, starting debates about support for taxpayers and moving to close Minnesota schools, businesses, gyms and salons.

Gov. Tim Walz and state officials on Friday, March 20, announced COVID-19 cases in the state had grown to 115 in two weeks. And unemployment insurance claims hit an unprecedented 95,000 this week. The pandemic's impact in the state fueled "one of the most disruptive and confusing weeks that many of us have witnessed," Walz said.

Here's a look at how things have changed in the last 14 days, and what may lie ahead as the pandemic continues.

  • Friday, March 6 - Minnesota Department of Health officials confirmed the state's first case of COVID-19 in Ramsey County. The individual in their 70s had sailed on a Grand Princess cruise between California and Mexico and went into self-quarantine upon returning to Minnesota. President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a federal coronavirus response plan which included more than $8.3 billion.
  • Saturday, March 7 - State health officials said the first Minnesotan to test positive for COVID-19 had limited community exposure and recommended people take extra precautions to limit sickness.
  • Sunday, March 8 - Health officials confirmed a second case of COVID-19 in Minnesota, this time a Carver County resident who'd interacted with someone with the illness while in Europe.
  • Monday, March 9 - The Minnesota House and Senate unanimously approved $21 million in funding to fight COVID-19.
  • Tuesday, March 10 - The third case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Minnesota, per health officials. The individual in their 30s lives in Anoka County and was hospitalized and in critical condition. The same day Walz signed into law $20.9 million in funding to help combat the disease.
  • Wednesday, March 11 - The University of Minnesota announced it would temporarily suspend in-person classes, moving them online. State officials announced COVID-19 cases in the state grew to five.
  • Thursday, March 12 - State officials reported four more positive cases, bringing the total to nine. State lawmakers on that day said they would shift priorities to focus on COVID-19 response.
  • Friday, March 13 - Fourteen cases were reported in the state and the Department of Health and state officials began limiting large-group gatherings to prevent the spread. Walz signed an executive order declaring a peacetime emergency and calling for the cancellation of events larger than 250 people, calling on employers to allow telework, asking religious organizations to take services online and calling hospitals to triage patients before allowing them to enter medical facilities. The Minnesota State High School League on Friday also announced that it would cancel all prep sports activities.
  • Saturday, March 14 - The Mall of America also announced it would close. Twenty-one cases came back positive after state health officials processed almost 300 tests in one day.
  • Sunday, March 15 - Walz, along with state health and education officials, announced that by executive order Minnesota schools would close no later than Wednesday, March 18, and remain closed through at least March 27, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Students would begin distance learning developed by each district and child care services for elementary-aged children of first responders and health care workers along with essential services in schools were set to remain available during the closures. Health officials that day announced the first instances of community transmission in Ramsey, Hennepin and Dakota counties and the state's total ticked up to 35.
  • Monday, March 16 - Ahead of St. Patrick's Day, Walz and state health officials announced they would call on Minnesota restaurants, bars, gyms and other public gathering spaces to close amid the pandemic, with exceptions for delivery and curbside pick-up food orders. Health officials that day said a total of 54 people had tested positive for the illness. The same day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on limiting gatherings to 50 people and Trump said gatherings should not exceed 10 people. Some Republican lawmakers criticized the governor's move, calling it overreach, while health care groups said it was necessary. Also on Monday, the University of Minnesota said all classes would go online for the rest of the semester and graduation would be suspended.
  • Tuesday, March 17 - In the wee hours of the morning, state lawmakers approved $200 million in additional funding for health care providers before calling a one-month recess to work remotely unless called back to the Capitol for emergency action. Total cases in the state grew to 60.
  • Wednesday, March 18 - Spa and salon owners on Wednesday reacted to a notice late Tuesday from the Board of Cosmetology ordering them to close under Walz's executive order on community gathering spaces. Minnesota State Colleges and Universities that day said they'd suspend graduation ceremonies and And total cases grew to 77, including a case of COVID-19 was reported in the Minnesota House of Representatives. And 32 Minnesotans who'd been quarantined after sailing a Grand Princess cruise returned home.
  • Thursday, March 19 - Walz ordered non-essential surgeries in the state to be called off beginning Monday, March 23 to free up bed space and medical resources in the state as Minnesota's case total climbed to 89, including multiple counties with community transmission. The first case reported in northern Minnesota was tracked in Clay County. Also on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, raised questions about Walz's authority to take sweeping executive actions.
  • Friday, March 20 - Health officials on Friday said the number of positive cases in Minnesota reached triple digits at 115, and announced cases in Chisago and Fillmore counties for the first time. Walz said the state wasn't in a position yet to call for a shelter-in-place order, but ordered that people price gouging during the pandemic be subject to penalties, extended authority for the Department of Human Services to provide emergency services and extended the enrollment period for those seeking coverage through the state's health insurance marketplace, MNSure. Attorney General Keith Ellison in a news release said Walz had the authority under state law and the Minnesota Constitution to act during "extraordinary times," despite Gazelka's comments.

Walz on Friday said state health officials would continue updating case totals and actions to prevent the spread over the weekend. And while the governor said the potential to issue a shelter-in-place order as a tool in his toolbox, he didn't intend to call for that in the near term.

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