Minnesota's coronavirus cases continue to hover in the low thousands. On Thursday, the state department of health reported nearly 13-hundred new coronavirus cases and 32 new deaths. New cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are all down at least 25-percent over the last 14 days.
This week Mankato elementary students had a successful return to the hybrid learning model. Families are encouraged to continue to report their child’s illness to Health Services. Staff are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Staff can help identify COVID-like symptoms and explain the isolation and quarantine process. Tentatively the district is planning for middle and high school students to return to the hybrid learning model on February 4th. The transition days for this would be February 1st and 2nd, which would be no school days for secondary students. Again, this is tentative, as we will be [...]
Governor Tim Walz is setting loftier goals for Minnesota when it comes to clean energy. Walz released a list of climate change proposals Thursday, which includes a proposal for Minnesota to have completely carbon-free energy by 2040. Minnesota lawmakers will consider several bills connected to Walz' proposals during the 2021 legislative session.
Much of central and southern Minnesota will see snow this weekend. The National Weather Service says areas from Brainerd to the south could see anywhere from one to six inches of snow Saturday through Sunday morning. A small area between Mankato and Redwood Falls could see up to seven inches of snow.
The state Health Department is reporting 32 new deaths from COVID-19 and 1,292 new positive COVID-19 tests. So far, nearly 451,000 Minnesotans have tested positive. "Minnesota has now passed the sad threshold of 6,000 deaths since the start of this pandemic. We are not at a total of 6,011 who've lost their lives to COVID-19." State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. As of today, more than 6.2 million COVID-19 tests have been completed statewide. 203,839 Minnesotans have received one dose of the COVID vaccination and 41,984 have received both doses.
No tax increases -- income, sales or gas tax -- Senate Republicans are repeating as they roll out their top priorities for the legislative session. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says tax hikes are not necessary to plug an expected budget shortfall: "We can reduce spending -- it doesn't have to be much -- and we can use the Rainy Day Funds.... Between those two things we can easily balance the budget." Democrats, who control the Minnesota House, respond new investments are essential to jump-start a Minnesota economy that's hurting from COVID. They say upper-income groups haven't been paying their fair share. [...]
Decisions on putting students back into the classroom would be made solely by local school boards and community leaders, under one of Minnesota Senate Republicans' top-priority bills that would dial back Governor Tim Walz's COVID emergency powers. Rochester Senator Carla Nelson contends the current situation is serious: "Parents not being able to work because they don't have their children in school. We have a lost generation, some have said, of these young kids not learning to read." K-6 classrooms can currently re-open if certain safety measures are in place. The decision on in-person, distance, or hybrid learning in the upper grades [...]
No surprise that re-opening Minnesota businesses are among top priorities for state Senate Republicans as they officially unveil their agenda for the 2021 legislative session. Senator Andrew Mathews from Milaca says his bill allows businesses with safety plans to re-open with no restrictions: "Pinging back and forth that you've all been suffering from. You're open, you're closed. You're open, you're closed. Now you're open again, but Governor Walz still has the power to shut you back down." It's questionable that the Democrat-controlled Minnesota House would go along with such a restriction of the governor's emergency powers. They point to COVID [...]
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is updating its COVID-19 testing recommendations, focused primarily on young Minnesotans returning to schools, youth sports and extracurricular activities. "The bottom line is, that's a lot of new folks engaging with people they had had not previously been interacting with as a result we are updating our testing recommendations with a focus on those ages 12-25." Health Protection Bureau Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff says the new guidance comes in the wake of Governor Walz’s loosening of restrictions on certain activities and sectors of the economy.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has launched a new online survey for COVID-19 case investigation in an effort to more efficiently track coronavirus cases. With the new approach, when someone tests positive for COVID-19, MDH will send them a text message inviting them to participate in a survey. "By responding to the text with an email address, people who test positive for COVID-19 can complete the online survey without having to wait for a call from a public health worker." MDH's Kris Ehresmann says case investigation is the first step when someone tests positive to determine close contacts of someone [...]