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With Minnesota COVID Cases Soaring, Will State Officials Dial Back Again?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- For the third day in a row, Minnesota broke its record for new cases of COVID-19.

The state reported more than 3,900 new cases Thursday, and 25 more deaths.

Wisconsin nearly hit 6,000 new cases Thursday, and reported another 38 deaths.

With Minnesota's numbers remaining at all-time highs, will our state consider dialing things back again? WCCO spoke with Dr. David Hilden, an internal medicine physician at Hennepin Healthcare.

"We're almost in as bad a place as we've been since it began," Hilden said.

RELATED: 'Help Us': Minnesota ICUs Approaching Full Capacity As Daily COVID Cases Explode

He believes there does need to be a dial back in Minnesota.

"I'm hopeful that now we can do something in the middle, not a full and complete lockdown, but we can't keep doing what we're doing," Hilden said.

WCCO asked Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commission Jan Malcolm Thursday if dial backs should be considered, and when. Malcolm gave this response:

The governor has always said the virus will dictate where we go. We can't eliminate all risk in a global pandemic, but we've long had the goal of keeping transmission at a point where there's a hospital bed available for anyone who needs it, and that those beds are staffed by the heroes who care for us. We see in the data what is driving much of this spread. It's often younger people, and it's happening in bars and restaurants, smaller social gatherings, and other celebrations like weddings. The governor has and will continue to look at ways we can minimize the potential for spread through official actions, but it's important to recognize official actions will never eliminate all risk. Every Minnesotan has a role to play. We know what can work. Wear a mask, keep some distance from others, avoid crowds and get tested. There's no need to wait.

Liz Rammer, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, is against another dial back.

"This would be a total blow to the economy of our state and to the industry," Rammer said. "And to be honest, many of these businesses would simply not be able to come back."

RELATED: Quest For COVID-19 Vaccine Enters Final Phase At Minnesota's Allina Health

She says bars, restaurants and hotels can't survive tighter restrictions, and even capacity cuts. But she adds that some state officials recently assured her there are no plans to lock things down.

"As much as I'd like to, we can't count on the good intentions of everybody. I think we need stronger rules," Hilden said.

He recommends avoiding all indoor activities with groups you don't live with, and to treat everyone you're around as if they may have the virus. He says it will be tough, but hopefully worth it.

"I do think that the pain, the economic pain is real, but it will be worse if we don't get this thing under control," Hilden said.

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