ST. PAUL -- Governor Tim Walz continues to plead with Minnesotans to take the recent surge of COVID-19 seriously.

During the governor's daily COVID briefing Tuesday, Walz invited several people to share their personal stories on how COVID-19 has affected their life.

Former Minnesota State Representative Nick Zerwas recently spent several days in the hospital with the coronavirus. He says while a heart defect puts him in the "at risk" category, he urges others not to underestimate the virus.

At no time will this virus ask you who you voted for or what your politics are. It doesn't care. It doesn't discriminate and it is mean. It is a mean bug that we all have to come together and fight.

Zerwas says like many others, he downplayed COVID-19 when cases were lower this summer and now says this is a completely different ballgame.

Sarah Winston's teenage daughter was in the ICU with the virus earlier this month. She says prior to COVID, her daughter was a healthy student athlete, until she was diagnosed with the virus and further testing turned up an underlying heart condition.

Winston strongly encourages people to wear a mask and stay home when you're sick, in an effort to keep schools open and that athletics can continue.

As sad as it is for my daughter who can't participate in athletics because of COVID, I don't want that to be jeopardized for the rest of the kids out there. I think there is ways we can do it safely, but I don't think it needs to be cut off.

Walz says there will be a pause in youth sports across the board. He says the announcement as to what that looks like will come Wednesday.

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