ST. PAUL -- Speaking for the first time since going into a self-quarantine, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says it is estimated between 40 percent and 80 percent of Minnesotans will become infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Because of those numbers, he has issued a handful of new executive orders.

One order clarifies that tenants who can continue to pay rent during this emergency should continue to do that, but landlords and financial institutions cannot begin eviction proceedings.

Another order establishes a Small Business Emergency Loan program.

He is also directing all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their personal protective equipment like ventilators and respirators and donate that equipment to a local coordinating entity.

Anyone who has any of these items to donate, in any quantity, please call the Stearns/Benton County coronavirus hotline at 320.656.6625 or 1.877.782.5683. Hotline staff will direct people on how and where to donate the equipment.

Anyone sewing masks is asked to call the hotline as well to learn how to donate these items. Stearns County’s Emergency Management Department will disburse collected gear to the local healthcare facilities.

Walz says a ban on elective surgeries and procedures also applies to veterinarians.

The Governor also says the state's income tax deadline has been pushed back to July 15th, instead of April 15th, which is in line with the new federal deadline.

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says there are 235 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state so far, with one death.

Of the confirmed cases, 21 of them had to be hospitalized and 12 are still in the hospital, five are in intensive care. The rest have recovered and are at home.

Malcolm says it is safe to assume that COVID-19 is now circulating in all of our communities across the state.

She also clarified that no healthcare worker that they know of has contracted the virus from a patient yet.

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