Minnesota governor worried about response from border states

In this March 18 file photo, Gov. Tim Walz speaks during news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he gave an update on the state's effort to slow down the coronavirus. On Friday, Walz said he's worried about neighboring states that have yet to issue stay-at-home orders to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said he's worried about neighboring states that have yet to issue stay-at-home orders to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa were among a handful of states that did not have statewide orders in place as of Friday afternoon.

“I do worry about that,” Walz said, adding that he has communicated with officials in the three states that border Minnesota to the west and south, the Pioneer Press reported. “It’s probably only a matter of time before they issue those, too.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said at a press conference that the state has “taken significant and incremental steps” to limit the spread of the virus and a stay-at-home order is not needed yet. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem echoed those thoughts.

“We’re a low population state and a large low population state. I will use every tool at my disposal as governor to protect the lives and safety of North Dakotans," Burgum said Friday. "But I’m only going to use those tools if it makes sense and when it makes sense."

Noem said a statewide order wouldn’t be worth the disruption it would cause even though she predicted that up to 70% of the state's population might get COVID-19.

Walz, who said it's likely that he will extent Minnesota's order to the end of April, said the state's residents are saving lives by following the rules set in place.

“We are trying to look and be thoughtful with the data,” Walz said. “I think a lot of this depends on how well Minnesotans simply adhere to it without us telling them to so that they are not jeopardizing the gains that we are making.”

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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