MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Minnesota has seen a sharp jump in applications for unemployment insurance since Gov. Tim Walz ordered restaurants, bars and other places of public amusement to close to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development took more than 2,000 applications per hour Tuesday. That compares with about 40 to 50 per hour last week.

The week's total has topped 31,000.

Minnesota now has 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19. With cases expected to increase, Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul will become a specialized center to keep infected patients out of other hospitals.

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