The Ramsey County resident was in their 80s and died March 19.

    The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Saturday the state’s first death due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The death occurred in Ramsey County on March 19 with a resident in their 80s who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

    Governor Tim Walz says he and his wife, Gwen, offer their “deepest sympathies to the loved ones during this time of loss.”

    “As COVID-19 continues to spread in Minnesota, we must all do what we can to keep each other safe,” he added.

    Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm says the death “underscores the importance of protecting our most vulnerable Minnesotans during the outbreak.”

    “We’ve all seen reports of outbreak-related deaths in other states and countries, but this Minnesota death reminds us how important it is to continue working to protect each other during this outbreak,” she added, also emphasizing the importance of all Minnesotans doing their part to slow the spread of the virus and protect those in our communities who might be at higher risk of severe illness or death.

    The most vulnerable include those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions.

    The MDH offers steps that everyone can take to slow the spread of the virus:

    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.

    • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

        • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.

        • Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

    Since the outbreak started in December 2019, more than 284,000 cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported worldwide. The U.S. reported 19,624 cases and 260 deaths as of Saturday, March 21.

    More information about the coronavirus situation in Minnesota, the U.S. and internationally can be found on MDH’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) webpage.

    A hotline for the public is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline number is 651-201-3920.