St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Health Department says community transmission of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has been detected in four counties but officials believe it is widespread throughout the state.

Health Department spokeswoman Kris Ehresmann says the state's testing program has found cases of community transmission in Hennepin, Ramsey, Dakota, and Martin counties but she is concerned the public might believe community transmission is limited to those counties. At a news conference today, Ehresmann and other public health officials stressed that should not lead anyone to assume community transmission is not happening elsewhere.

The Health Department today reported that 12 new presumptive cases of the illness caused by the coronavirus have been detected in the state over the past day. That raised the statewide total to 89. There were no new cases reported in Olmsted County today but Mower County has been added to the list of Minnesota counties that have seen at least one person test positive for COVID 19.

The number of samples tested by the State Health Department is now over 3000 but officials note the state's testing program has been slowed by a shortage of testing kits. The Minneapolis area remains the epicenter of the outbreak in Minnesota. One-third of all of the cases reported by the State Health Department have been in Hennepin County.

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