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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - It may be hard to believe but it’s been one year since the Rochester area was formally introduced to something called the coronavirus or COVID-19.

It’s probably safe to say no one saw what was coming, something that would become an invisible runaway train affecting all of us in one way or another. It began more as a curiosity than a recognizable health threat. But it would slowly balloon into what was called a pandemic.

The COVID-19 Pandemic.

Major Milestones From Beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota

News and information about the virus were slowly making their way through Minnesota and the Rochester area during late February 2020. Mayo Clinic became aware of the virus in January because of a partnership it had with a Chinese firm. This gave Mayo a head start in developing its own test for the virus which it knew would be needed for its patients.

Scroll through the gallery to see the significant milestones from the first two months of the pandemic in Olmsted County, Minnesota.

Over the course of 2020 and into 2021, Minnesotans have been subjected to lockdowns, shutdowns, joblessness, a lack of sports and entertainment, limited group gatherings, mask mandates and a daily barrage of Covid news and statistics. 

But as the Rochester area is moving into the second year of the pandemic, there are positive developments.

  • At last report, more than 900,000 Minnesotans had received one dose of the Covid vaccine and half of that number had received both shots. More than 450,000 Minnesotans 65 and older have received at least one dose. Olmsted County reports 43,000 residents have received their first shot. Gov. Walz is hopeful all Minnesotans will be able to be vaccinated by this summer.
  • Rochester public school students are slowly getting back to normal. Elementary students are now back in class on a full-time basis.  The school board has tentatively decided to allow secondary students to return to the classroom on April 5th.  They have been learning from home since the pandemic began.
  • The hard-hit hospitality industry is slowly getting back to normal and could see more easing of current restrictions in the near future as more Minnesotans are vaccinated. The same goes for gyms, places of worship and other public venues.

Visit our COVID-19 Vaccination Information page.