Situation Update for Friday, April 10

Posted at 9:16 a.m. Updated at 1:54 p.m.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health reports there have been 57 deaths related to COVID-19 complications as of Friday, April 10, and 1,336 Minnesotans have tested positive. That represents seven more deaths and 94 more new cases since yesterday. Almost 34,000 have been tested for the virus, with most of those being completed at external laboratories. There are 64 currently being treated in ICU, which are included in the total amount of 143 patients currently hospitalized.

MDH briefed media today on a new model that predicts, under the current stay at home order, the state will reach peak COVID-19 infections in early July. Another scenario, for comparison, includes one where only the vulnerable stay home. The outcomes are similar, but the peak arrives much earlier. Read more about it here.

The Department of Revenue announced that they are extending the grace period on Sales and Use Tax payments for businesses impacted by COVID-19. Identified businesses with a monthly or quarterly Sales and Use Tax payment due April 20, 2020, will now have until May 20, 2020, to make that payment. This payment grace period will allow bars, restaurants, and places of public accommodation some additional time to pay their sales tax obligation.

The Department of Transportation also announced it is participating in the global #LightItBlue campaign to honor healthcare providers and essential workers. The Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis and states around the country will light landmarks blue to thank front-line workers for everything they’re doing to keep Minnesotans safe.

ELECTIONS

The Minnesota DFL party has released a “Defending Democracy” plan, a set of proposals designed to ensure that all eligible voters can safely cast ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Some of the recommendations include sending each registered voter an absentee ballot with pre-paid postage for return, extending the May 1 deadline for major political parties to submit election judge names, and assist cities and counties with ballot drop-boxes outside of local government buildings.

“During this time of fear and uncertainty, the last thing Minnesotans should have to worry about is their right to vote,” said Representative Jamie Long.

“The best way to ensure that every eligible Minnesota voter is able to cast their ballot is to make it easy to vote by mail this election. This has worked well for other states, and will avoid undemocratic and dangerous elections like we saw this week in Wisconsin.”

LOCAL UPDATES

Beltrami County Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen explained why Beltrami’s COVID-19 case count dropped to five from the original six.

“We found out from MDH that one case should have been attributed to another county,” she said in a message to this outlet. “The individual provided additional information about their living situation.”

Beltrami County’s public health, government and emergency management officials are strongly encouraging those who are returning to their summer homes and cabins to self-quarantine for two weeks.

This two-week quarantine should include arranging for grocery delivery and other personal needs.

According to a release, the efforts of social distancing, the stay at home executive orders and self-quarantines work when Minnesotans take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

MDH recently started listing congregate care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks. An outbreak is considered to be at least one patient confirmed to have COVID-19. In northern Minnesota, two such facilities are in St. Louis County, Saint Ann’s Residence and Superior View Apartments, and in Koochiching County, the Good Samaritan Society-International Falls is included on the list. In Clay County, Eventide Lutheran Home and Moorhead Rehab and HCC are included, as is the Minnesota Teen Challenge Facility in Crow Wing County.

SUMMER EVENT ANNOUNCEMENTS
The Organizing Committee of the Paul Bunyan Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries has made the decision to cancel their event for 2020. All registrations and fees received will be returned as soon as possible.
Mississippi Music at the Bemidji Waterfront, the weekly Wednesday concerts during the summer, announced Wednesday that they are cancelling the concerts for June 2020. According to a Facebook announcement, they are still assessing the feasibility of the July and August concerts and may make an additional announcement later this month.
The Memorial Day Traditional Pow Wow, previously scheduled for May 22-24 at the Leech Lake Veterans Memorial Grounds, has been cancelled.

Larissa Donovan is the News Director for the stations of Paul Bunyan Broadcasting and has been, almost without interruption, since Election Day 2016. She covers events and issues in north central Minnesota, which include local government, crime, courts, education, environment and social issues. She studied communications at Bemidji State University and received her degree in 2018. Larissa, native to the great state of New York, grew up in Bemidji, and enjoys spending her spare time with her family and pet cat. She also loves Star Trek, punk rock music and the theater.


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