Situation Update for Friday, May 15

Posted at 11:44 a.m. Updated at 11:56 a.m.

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health is reporting 808 newly reported cases of COVID-19 and 20 newly reported deaths. This brings the cumulative total to 14,240 COVID-19 cases, with 1,702 health care workers infected, and 683 deaths, with 554 of those being residents in long-term care or assisted living facilities.

MDH is reporting an additional nine possible COVID-19 deaths, as well. In this instances, COVID-19 is listed on the death certificate but the patient did not have a positive COVID-19 test on file.

Almost 135,000 tests for COVID have been completed thus far, with 4,843 completed within a 24-hour period.

Cumulatively, over half of the COVID-19 patients have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated, 8,820. There have been almost 2,000 patients hospitalized, with 498 hospitalized as of today and 200 in the ICU.

PRESS RELEASE FROM GOV. WALZ

 Governor Tim Walz announced his priorities for $91 million in federal funding Minnesota received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for children, students, and families during the COVID emergency. These funds will help ensure there are safe places for children to go as our economy reopens this summer and educational programs continue.

The Governor’s priorities for the funding are to increase student access to technology and summer school; support child care and programs providing care to workers in Critical Businesses; provide financial support and flexibility to child care providers; and help working families experiencing financial losses due to COVID-19.

“We must continue prioritizing Minnesota’s children and families through this crisis,” said Governor Tim Walz. “Through this funding for education and child care, we can get technology into the hands of students who do not have it, help child care stay open, and support working families who are struggling to afford the child care they need to safely return to work. Our children are our future, and these federal dollars will be an investment in their success.”

“Child care was a priority for our Administration before this pandemic, and we will continue to lift up our child care providers and working Minnesotans by working to maximize the funding available to address their needs across the state,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Investments toward our littlest Minnesotans and the safety of our families and workers is our top priority.”

The Department of Health released specific public health guidance to protect children, employees, and families in schools, youth programs and care settings.

Through the CARES Act, Minnesota will receive $48 million in Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds and anticipates receiving $43 million in the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds.

The Governor and Lt. Governor asked that GEER dollars be used to:

  • Prioritizing technology for K-12 students to assist their learning.
  • Summer school programming for students who need additional support over the summer months.
  • Wrap-around supports like those students would receive in a full-service community school.
  • A portion of the GEER funds will also support students in higher education including critical technology needs of students, Minnesota Tribal Colleges, and strengthening equity in education through targeted support of teacher preparation programs and postsecondary faculty.

The Governor and Lt. Governor asked that CCDBG dollars be used to:

·       Provide increased access to supports to reduce child care costs for working families who are essential workers and on the frontlines.

·       Increase funding for peacetime emergency child care grants to expand critical relief and supports for those remaining open to care for children of essential workers, including school-age programs who help meet the needs for care during the summer.

·       Provide flexibilities for our center and family child care providers serving lower income working families to continue to fund absent days, pay for second providers and those temporarily closed and other flexibilities needed to support this critical industry.

In addition to these uses above, the Governor and Lt. Governor are asking the Legislature to act now to increase Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) provider rates by passing their supplemental budget request. Increasing the rates paid to providers is critical now more than ever and, if the Legislature fails to pass rates, the state anticipates a federal penalty reduction in CCDBG funds up to $5.5 million.

Minnesota will be applying for the GEER funds, which need approval by the federal government. The Minnesota Department of Education, Office of Higher Education, and the Children’s Cabinet will work with Minnesota Management and Budget and the Governor’s Office to consult with the Legislature and allocate GEER and CCDBG funds.

LOCAL UPDATES

MDH is reporting an additional new COVID-19 case in Beltrami County, bringing the cumulative total to nine. Public Health Coordinator for the County Cynthia Borgen confirmed today that two of three cases reportedly here by MDH in the past couple of days may later be assigned to another county, but one of those has a permanent address in Beltrami County. Confirmation from Borgen has not yet been received as of press time for the latest new case. Six of Beltrami’s cases have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated. While the other cases confirmed in this county were related to travel or known exposure, this is the first time a case linked to this county was a result of community spread, according to Borgen.

MDH reported two new COVID deaths in Itasca County of residents in their 80s, bringing their cumulative total to 42 with four deaths. The Emeralds in Grand Rapids has been identified as a congregate care facility with an outbreak, and earlier reports indicated that multiple staff and residents there tested positive without ever showing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Cass County has cumulative eight COVID cases with two deaths, Clearwater County still has two cases and Mahnomen County now has five cases with one death.


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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