Gov. Tim Walz contemplates COVID-19 dial change, ‘normal’ State Fair

Gov. Tim Walz met with business leaders Friday to discuss further easing of COVID-19 restrictions and dangled the prospect of a “normal” Minnesota State Fair this summer if pandemic progress continues.

The governor commended Minnesotans for a vaccine uptake rate that “out-vaccinated the surge” of viral activity over the past month and kept hospitals from being overrun. While global concerns of COVID-19, especially the outbreak in India, could result in new viral variants presenting new threats, Walz said Minnesota is on pace for a promising summer.

“The touchstone place is [the] State Fair,” Walz said. “Everything looks to me on the horizon, and where the vaccine is going and the way that the virus is responding, that that should be a pretty-close-to-normal event.”

Walz’s comments on Friday came as Minnesota reported 16 more COVID-19 deaths along with 1,877 infections. The state appears on the downside of a third wave of pandemic activity. The seven-day average positivity rate of COVID-19 testing rose from 3.5% on March 3 to 7.5% on April 8, but has since declined to 6.3%.

The daily figures raise Minnesota’s totals to 7,144 COVID-19 deaths and 575,812 diagnosed infections in the pandemic.

Walz credited Minnesota’s rapid vaccination progress for avoiding an…

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