UPDATE: Governor Dayton heading home after surgery

Has been hospitalized for more than a month after back surgery.

Posted: Nov 20, 2018 8:50 AM
Updated: Nov 20, 2018 4:19 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday his health has rebounded enough from post-surgical complications for him to leave Mayo Clinic this week, and he defended his office's low-key handling of a hospitalization that lasted more than a month.

Dayton, 71, said he will be "thrilled" to be back in St. Paul on Wednesday to celebrate his last Thanksgiving as governor with his family and his dogs.

Speaking in a strong, clear voice, Dayton spoke with reporters by phone from the Rochester, Minnesota, clinic. Dayton's lungs suffered damage from complications after he underwent two back surgeries, but he said they "have improved considerably in the last two weeks" and that he seldom has to use oxygen any more.

"I see definite signs of improvement," said Dayton, adding he's looking forward to getting down on the floor and romping with his grandson.

"That's my primary objective," he said.

The surgeries fused vertebrae to improve stability of Dayton's back and legs. Dayton said he turned over control to Republican Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach when he was under anesthesia.

He also defended his office's handing of his extended hospital stay. It wasn't publicly announced, though at least one daily email from his communications staff noted it. That Oct. 29 email said Dayton would not attend the traditional trick-or-treating at the governor's mansion because he was recovering "from back surgeries" at Mayo.

Dayton said when he didn't have regular press availabilities as usual "that should have meant something."

"I stand by our veracity," Dayton said.

Dayton, who did not seek a third term, will be succeeded in January by Democrat Tim Walz . Dayton said he has had two conversations with Walz during his hospital stay and plans to meet with his successor as early as next week.

Dayton, who often clashed with the Republican-dominated Legislature, said Walz will have the advantage of working with a state House that will be controlled by Democrats after big gains in the November election.

"What a huge difference that will make," Dayton said.

At Mayo, Dayton said he used the same gym as other patients for rehabilitation and that he occasionally was recognized.

"I look everybody in the eye," Dayton said. "Some people recognize me, and many others have not."

Dayton hasn't been seen publicly since before his first surgery on Oct. 12. The procedures followed three similar back surgeries earlier. Dayton also had surgery last year for prostate cancer and is in remission. He said he plans to return to Mayo for periodic checkups but is "not coming back on any continuing basis."

"It's been extremely frustrating to be waylaid here. I recognize the limits imposed by my lung damage. It's nothing I bargained for," Dayton said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42772

Reported Deaths: 1542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin13697791
Ramsey5313234
Dakota275396
Stearns253619
Anoka2458111
Nobles16946
Washington130641
Olmsted130220
Mower9872
Scott8994
Rice8928
Clay62038
Kandiyohi5951
Blue Earth5862
Wright5475
Carver5002
Todd4042
Sherburne3725
Lyon3512
Freeborn3140
Watonwan2720
Steele2501
Benton2423
St. Louis23816
Nicollet20712
Martin1755
Winona15015
Cottonwood1420
Goodhue1428
Le Sueur1361
Crow Wing11512
Otter Tail1151
Pine1150
Chisago1111
McLeod1030
Dodge990
Carlton940
Polk903
Unassigned8838
Pipestone864
Isanti830
Murray830
Chippewa811
Waseca800
Itasca7612
Douglas740
Morrison691
Becker680
Meeker661
Faribault610
Jackson580
Sibley572
Beltrami550
Pennington540
Brown492
Wabasha430
Mille Lacs412
Renville373
Fillmore360
Rock350
Swift351
Grant320
Houston320
Yellow Medicine310
Roseau280
Lincoln250
Redwood250
Koochiching221
Wilkin223
Norman210
Cass202
Big Stone180
Kanabec181
Wadena180
Aitkin160
Marshall160
Clearwater150
Mahnomen131
Pope130
Stevens110
Hubbard100
Lake90
Traverse70
Lac qui Parle50
Red Lake50
Kittson20
Cook10
Lake of the Woods00

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35534

Reported Deaths: 754
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk7611185
Woodbury334944
Black Hawk253459
Buena Vista173811
Johnson14878
Dallas141531
Linn141083
Marshall110019
Scott109810
Dubuque100023
Story8778
Pottawattamie84113
Wapello71631
Muscatine69545
Crawford6813
Sioux5050
Tama48829
Webster4295
Wright3991
Louisa36713
Jasper35717
Plymouth3535
Warren3371
Cerro Gordo3291
Dickinson3073
Washington2559
Hamilton2041
Boone1751
Clay1511
Clarke1453
Clinton1391
Allamakee1384
Mahaska11917
Shelby1190
Carroll1171
Bremer1167
Franklin1130
Poweshiek1128
Pocahontas1091
Des Moines1022
Emmet970
Cedar961
Henry933
Hardin920
Cherokee851
Marion840
Floyd822
Guthrie814
Taylor810
Benton781
Monona780
Jones741
Butler702
Osceola690
Sac680
Jackson670
Buchanan651
Calhoun652
Iowa631
Jefferson630
Hancock621
Harrison620
Lyon610
Humboldt601
Fayette590
Delaware581
Madison562
Lee542
Mills530
Palo Alto530
Monroe527
Clayton503
Winneshiek500
Grundy470
Mitchell470
Winnebago440
Davis431
Kossuth430
Union430
Howard370
Lucas354
Unassigned350
Chickasaw310
Greene310
Cass300
Worth270
Appanoose243
Keokuk241
Ida230
Page220
Van Buren211
Audubon181
Adair170
Ringgold161
Montgomery152
Decatur130
Fremont110
Wayne110
Adams80
Rochester
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