The Minnesota Golf Association is lobbying state leadership to allow golfers to begin playing soon. M-G-A executive director Tom Ryan says they understand the health concerns, but they will recommend strict guidelines be put in place to help golfers practice social distancing if and when they're allowed to play: "You now if carts are used, limited to one rider per cart, they've been doing that successfully down in the southern states. There it just becomes a matter of availability and supply of carts, but we're also really recommending those that can just walk, walk." Ryan says they are recommending courses set [...]
30 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19--according to the latest reporting from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). 986 people have tested positive for the virus in the state. At least 28,128 tests have been completed. Health officials caution that not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so it is not representative of the total number of people in Minnesota who have or had COVID-19. 57 Minnesotans are in the ICU for coronavirus. State health officials say things are going to get worse before better as the coronavirus pandemic deepens.
Over 320-thousand Minnesotans have now applied for unemployment insurance, and there are reports that claim processing has slowed down. Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove acknowledges numbers are rising and ability to handle them is being stretched -- but says his department is adding people daily: "50 staff this week and as much expected next week, adding to that team of people that is processing these claims at an incredible speed, given the amount of work to be done." Grove says they're also adding new computer servers to handle the extra load. He says they're also preparing to issue the [...]
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is receiving more and more reports about scams related to COVID-19. He's urging Minnesotans: "If you contact my office let us know, screenshot whatever you can, we're working with state, federal and county officials to try to find these people and hold them accountable and if you report these folks and we do find them and hold them accountable, you're helping save other people." Ellison says to be safe, if you get an email from an unknown source--don't click on any links.
In the Republican response to the State of the State address, House Minority Leader Kurt Daud said: "The legislature is working closely with the governor, and unlike Washington DC, we're working without partisan political games. Right now we are united in a common goal of fighting this pandemic and helping Minnesota families and businesses weather this storm." But Daudt also said the governor's executive orders have forced some businesses to close, even when they could stay open by practicing social distancing. Daudt also urged Walz to reconsider plans for the early release of some prisoners and said the governor should discourage [...]
Governor Tim Walz in his State of the State address last night (Sun) laid out a grim view of what's ahead for Minnesota in the COVID-19 pandemic, but said Minnesotans are up to the challenge and the state will come out better on the other side: "These last few weeks have been difficult, but it's only going to get harder.... We're going to do everything in our power to save lives, and as hard as we work, we're not gonna be able to save everyone. It's going to be a cold, long winter. But how do we get through cold, long [...]
As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens, many Minnesotans are struggling to put food on the table: "Second Harvest Heartland has been working with our partners across Minnesota to distribute 1.3 million pounds of food last week alone. Which is 350,000 pounds of food above where we were last year at this time." Allison O'Toole CEO of Second Harvest Heartland. As the demand for food assistance rises across the state, O'Toole encourages families to apply for SNAP benefits formerly known as food stamps. She says while food shelves are doing a great job this program can put even more food on the table: [...]
The transportation industry is one of many affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As school buses remain parked, drivers remain in limbo. Bethany Schubert vice president of Trobec's Bus Service says during these uncertain times, they plan to remain committed to their drivers. "We have five routes that run every day, Monday through Friday to deliver lunches to students. And then I know that there have been some iPads distributed, homework, and reading materials and things like that for students who weren't able to pick it up." Schubert says they have pulled back their push to hire bus drivers at this time, [...]
Republican State Senator Karin Housley of St. Marys Point is calling on Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health officials to disclose the names or locations of long-term care facilities where residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. "So people in Minnesota can know and have this information because the more information we have, the more comfortable we are, the less we have, the more anxiety it causes." Housley says she respects the privacy of long-term care residents but feels transparency is key during the COVID-19 pandemic. Housley says withholding this information only brings unnecessary grief and frustration to [...]
It's expected Governor Tim Walz will unveil an Internet "dashboard" today (Fri) that lets Minnesotans see how long current stockpiles of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment will last -- updated when new inventory comes into the system. Walz warns that stockpiles are "not nearly as robust as they need to be" for the coming peak in COVID-19 cases: "We have got to do better. We have got to ramp up production.... We need a focus like we built tanks in World War Two to build these things, and they need to be done now." The governor is also talking [...]