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RESTRICTION EFFECTS: Minnesotans deal with financial and mental struggles of shutdown

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(KTTC) -- After a record breaking day Thursday for new COVID-19 cases and deaths in Minnesota, Friday's news was not much better with more than 6,800 new cases and 68 deaths.

Friday, just in our southeast Minnesota viewing area, five counties reported more than 60 new cases. Olmsted County with 108 and one new death, Goodhue County reported 77, Winona County saw 72 new cases and an additional death. Mower County had 4 deaths to go along with 68 new cases and Steele County announced 61 new COVID 19 positive tests.

As Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged during a media briefing call Friday, the new restrictions are painful but do serve a specific purpose.

"To mitigate the spread of the virus, preserve our healthcare capacity, protect our healthcare workers and make a difference," Walz said. "As I've said all along, it comes at a horrible cost. There's an economic cost that comes with these decisions. There's also mental health."

Distance learning and lockdowns have caused mental health issues for children. It has been extremely difficult for both special needs students and those already struggling with a mental illness.

However, younger children are not the only ones affected.

"A new study released this month found that almost half of young adults are showing at least moderate symptoms of depression. More than a third have thoughts of suicide or death," said Sue Abderholden, director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Minnesota.

It has even impacted older adults as well.

"Parents, other caregivers, teachers and school staff. A lot of adults are reporting that they feel like they're failing at parenting, working and teaching," said Jody Nelson, director of Change Inc., which provides mental health services to K-12 students in the Twin Cities metro area.

"Now more than ever, we have to take care out ourselves and take care of each other," said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. "We're in this together so please reach out if you need help."

Help can be just a text message away.

"You need to write this down and post it in your home on the refrigerator. Again, that's Text M-N for Minnesota to 741-741," Abderholden advises.

While we are all suffering through the pandemic and hoping for a vaccine to come soon, Nelson says that some good can come from this struggle.

"You've probably heard about PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. You may not have have heard of post traumatic growth, but it's a thing," Nelson said. "We can emerge from the pandemic and other stressors with learning and new skills that we didn't have before."

Despite the mental health challenges and feelings of isolation, state leaders are still encouraging people to not gather in large groups for next week's holiday as new case growth has expanded through the whole state.

Outside of the Twin Cities, three counties experience more single-day COVID-19 cases on Friday than Olmsted County. Those counties are Stearns, suffering 316 new cases and 27 deaths, St. Louis with 215 new cases to go with 8 deaths and Kandiyohi County's 128 new cases and one new death reported.

These numbers serve as a reminder to everyone to stay diligent in the coming weeks against the spread of the virus.

Alex Tejada

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