Friday a.m. update: COVID-19 strategy is containment — for now

Good morning and welcome to the weekend. There’s a lot of news to know.

Mostly sunny, but a little chillier. Twin Cities highs in the upper 30s with 10 to 15 mph winds and nighttime lows in the lower 20s. Statewide, northern highs in the 20s and southern highs from mid-30s to lower 40s. Northern temps get down to zero at night. More on Updraft. | Forecast

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Minnesota schools won’t close, but are asking for “social distancing” for now. The state now has at least nine coronavirus cases.

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Overall, the coronavirus is containment. For now. But be ready for longer-term life changes. "We are now starting to move into the phase when we want to move into community mitigation ... where people's personal lives will be impacted ... even if they are healthy,” Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director, told reporters.

MNsure plans are waiving co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles for COVID-19 testing. Martin Moylan reports on the latest on what other major health providers are covering (it’s a lot, fortunately) for coronavirus tests.

A potential bright spot: Mayo Clinic may have a new test for COVID-19. Writes reporter Catharine Richert: “The clinic says the test should provide a speedy result, within 24 hours. Mayo is in the process of testing 90 samples. All positive samples will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Health or the CDC for follow-up testing and confirmation.”

There are a few more coronavirus stories worth highlighting … Minneapolis requires paid sick leave, and the city wants to make sure workers get it. Our digital producer Jiwon Choi is on self-quarantine and has been tested for COVID-19 after potential exposure at a work conference, and she shared her experience. And we’re still taking and answering your coronavirus questions.

St. Paul educators reach tentative contract deal. The St. Paul school district and its teachers union have reached a tentative settlement at 3 a.m. this morning and school could resume for 36,000 students on Monday.

Please don’t drive on the thinning ice. It’s getting rapidly thinner across the state, as Paul Huttner writes.

Twin Cities speed limits are decreasing. Some 30 mph streets are going down to 20 or 25 mph. New speeds only apply to city-owned roads, but the limits take effect as soon as the signs are up.

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