One year of COVID-19: See how one year of COVID-19 unfolded in Minnesota

Minnesotans learned about the first in-state case of COVID-19 on March 6, 2020.

No one could have predicted how the next 365 days would unfold.

Schools and businesses closed and reopened and closed again. People lost jobs and critical social connections. The office moved to the spare bedroom, the classroom moved to the kitchen table. And we all adapted or tried to adapt to change after change. 

Minnesota recorded more than 486,000 known cases of COVID-19 in the last year as of Wednesday. And more than 6,500 Minnesotans have died from the infection and related complications. In the three counties around St. Cloud, more than 360 have died from COVID-19.

And now nearly 1 million Minnesotans have been vaccinated and a third vaccine has been authorized and shipped to the state.

Here's a look back at the historic year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota:

RELATED: MN to prioritize those with high-risk health conditions for next COVID-19 vaccines

Early rumblings of COVID-19 in Minnesota

The virus first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. By Jan. 20, 2020, the World Health Organization confirmed cases in Thailand, Japan and South Korea. The first known case in the U.S. emerged the next day. 

In early February St. Cloud State University officials announced they were canceling plans for 58 students to study abroad in China, in accordance with federal travel warnings.

A few days later, the WHO named the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. It would be known as COVID-19.

More:'We'll come back even stronger': A look back at one year of COVID-19 in Minnesota

March 2020

March 6: Minnesota Department of Health announced the first known Minnesota case, in a patient who had traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship. More than 40 other Minnesotans who were on the same cruise were quarantined. 

March 10: The St. Cloud VA Health Care System started to screen everyone entering its facilities for COVID-19 symptoms.

March 11: The World Health Organization classified COVID-19 as a pandemic.

March 12: CentraCare announced it would no longer allow visitors at any of its sites.

March 12: The first COVID-19 case was reported in Stearns County. 

March 13: Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency in response to the pandemic.

March 16: Minnesota's K-12 public schools closed and prepared for distance learning. 

March 16: Benton County reports its first confirmed case. 

March 17: Bars, restaurants, theaters, gyms, bowling alleys and other places of public accommodation closed across the state by executive order. 

March 19: Stearns County declared a state of emergency.

March 21: First Minnesotan died due to COVID-19. 

March 21: The Canada-U.S. border was closed to all non-essential travel.

March 23: First case reported in Sherburne County. 

March 24: Sauk Rapids declares a state of emergency.

March 25: Gov. Walz issues the first stay-at-home order and extended his order to close bars and restaurants.

March 30: Minnesota public schools began distance learning after a week of preparation.

More:What's next in the COVID-19 fight? Vaccines, variants and our behavior


April 8: Walz extended the stay-at-home order and the temporary closure of bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation.

April 13: Walz extended the peacetime emergency. 

April 20: JBS USA closed its Worthington pork plant as outbreaks among food processors caused meat shortages.

April 30: Walz again extended the stay-at-home order and temporary closure of bars and similar businesses. 


May 1: The greater St. Cloud area recorded its first COVID-19 death — a resident of Benton County. 

May 4: Stearns County reported its first two COVID-19 deaths. 

May 5: Sherburne County reported its first COVID-19 death. 

May 8: Some Central Minnesota bars and restaurant owners announced plans to open against state orders.

May 9: The state received a shipment of the antiviral drug remdesivir to treat some COVID-19 patients.

May 13: Walz extended the peacetime emergency. 

May 25: George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer held a knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes, spurring outrage and protests across the U.S. and the world over the coming weeks. 

May 28: U.S. COVID-19 death toll surpassed 100,000

May 30: Minnesota's death count exceeded 1,000. 

A graph charts COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota from the state's first COVID-19-related death in March 2020 through its 6,450th on Feb. 24, 2021.


June 12: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

June 11 to 25: The Pickled Loon became the center of an outbreak of nearly 50 cases


July 13: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

July 20: The St. Cloud City Council instituted a mask mandate

July 20: News broke that the state had warned 14 bars, including Rollie's Rednecks and Longnecks in Sauk Rapids, about COVID-19 violations.

July 25: A statewide mask mandate went into effect. 


Aug. 12: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.


Sept. 11: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

Sept. 14: Students at the St. Cloud Area School District returned to classrooms part-time at the start of the school year.

Sept. 22: U.S. death toll reached 200,000

Sept. 26: Minnesota's death toll exceeded 2,000. 


Oct 1: Minnesota's case count exceeded 100,000. 

Oct. 12: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.


Nov. 3: Election Day across the U.S. included the presidential race, U.S. Senate and House races, the Minnesota Legislature and local city and school board elections. A record number of Minnesota ballots were cast as absentees due to the pandemic. 

Nov. 12: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

Nov. 18: Gov. Walz announced a second round of closures for bars, restaurants, gyms and social gatherings beginning Nov. 20.

Nov. 18: The New York Times named St. Cloud a COVID-19 hot spot

Nov. 19: Minnesota's death toll exceeded 3,000. 

Nov. 23: CentraCare-Sauk Centre became a temporary COVID-19 hospital to accommodate a surge of infections. 

Nov. 24: CentraCare reinstituted visitor restrictions

Nov. 27: Minnesota recorded 101 deaths, the highest daily total of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Stearns County's death toll to date exceeded 100. 

Nov. 29: Minnesota recorded 8,680 new cases, the most new cases in one day of the pandemic. And the state exceeded 300,000 cases total. 

A graph charts known COVID-19 cases in Minnesota from the state's first cases in March 2020 through its 481,831st on Feb. 24, 2021. Light blue in the lower graph indicates antigen-positive tests results and dark blue indicates PCR-positive test results.

Nov. 30: The St. Cloud school district returned to distance learning due to COVID-19 related staffing shortages.

RELATED: Gov. Walz's made 100-plus executive orders this year. What do they do?


Dec. 9: Minnesota's death toll exceeded 4,000. 

Dec. 10: St. Cloud Hospital's ICU had reached or exceeded its usual capacity for weeks. 

Dec. 11: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.

Dec. 14: U.S. death toll reached 300,000.

Dec. 14: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

Dec. 17: CentraCare administered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Central Minnesota.

Dec. 18: St. Cloud Sen. Jerry Relph died of COVID-19 and complications. 

Dec. 18: The FDA granted an emergency use authorization for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

Dec. 22: The St. Cloud VA Health Care System administered its first vaccines

Dec. 28: Minnesota's death toll exceeded 5,000. 

Dec. 31: Minnesota's case count exceeded 400,000. 

RELATED: 'The dam held': What CentraCare leaders think about the year of COVID-19 and what's next

January, 2021

Jan. 4: State allows pools to reopen for lap swim, lessons and organized swim teams.

Jan. 4: Stearns County and Sherburne County public health department began administering vaccines to first responders and assisting in long-term care vaccinations.

Jan. 13: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

Jan. 19: U.S. death toll reached 400,000. 

Jan. 19: Nine state-run community vaccination clinics for Minnesotans opened for online appointments.

Jan. 21: Minnesota's death toll exceeded 6,000. 


Feb. 12: Walz extended the peacetime emergency.

Feb. 19: Stearns County death toll reached 200. 

Feb. 22: U.S. death toll reached 500,000. 


March 3: The first doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine arrived in Minnesota