Situation Update for Monday, April 13

Posted at 9:49 a.m. Updated at 11:32 a.m.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health reported that as of Monday, April 13, there are 1,650  confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Over 800 of these cases are no longer contagious and are no longer in isolation.

As of Monday, there have been 70 reported deaths due to COVID-19 complications. The age range for these deaths is between 56 to 100 years of age, with the median age of 88. Hennepin County reports 34 deaths due to the virus.

As of Monday, 361 total patients have required hospitalization. There are currently 157 in the hospital, and of those, 74 are receiving intensive care.

The state now provides information on respirator availability, ICU capacity, traffic numbers, child care slots available, approved small business emergency loans and unemployment rates, as well as a count of available medical care supplies. Keep track here.

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Friday that allows additional data sharing between Minnesota’s public health and safety officials, 911 dispatchers and first responders. According to a release, “limited information—the addresses where a positive COVID-19 case has been identified and is still contagious—can be disclosed via DPS to Public Safety Answering Point (911) dispatchers and first responders in a very limited fashion.”

The Federal Communications Commission announced that its Wireline Competition Bureau will begin accepting applications for $200 million in funding through the COVID-19 Telehealth Program starting today. These funds, appropriated by the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136), will help healthcare providers purchase the connectivity and devices they need to care for patients remotely in response to COVID-19. Applications can be filed through a dedicated application portal, which will go live on Monday: www.fcc.gov/covid19telehealth.

LOCAL UPDATES

No cases of COVID-19 were reported in Beltrami County. Emergency Management director Chris Muller indicated that the county’s change from six to five cases was due to one patient having a primary residence in another county, but the patient did spend their isolation time here in Beltrami County.

Cass County now has three cases. Other nearby counties reported no change: two cases in Clearwater and Itasca counties, and there is one case each in Mahnomen, Polk, Koochiching and Roseau counties.

With scores of people fashioning their own cloth facial coverings, Dr. Ralph Morris, a retired family practice physician, provided some local insight on why they’re being recommended.

Morris said that the facial coverings are not a replacement for social distancing, and to be careful when removing them.

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There are additional crisis funds available from the Energy Assistance Program. According to BiCAP, the maximum crisis funding has increased to $1,200 per household, or $600 for biofuels and wood. The offices are currently closed to the public, but they can be reached at (218) 751-4631. If you are experiencing a crisis: past due bill, disconnect notice or have less than 20 percent for delivered fuel, you can contact BiCAP. If you are over the age of 60, you do not need to be in “crisis,” you can just request assistance.

The Bemidji Public Library will offer curbside service starting Wednesday. According to their Facebook page, patrons can use their website to select materials, and they will be notified either by phone or email when the items will be available for pickup. Then, patrons will need to call the library to set up a pickup time. Library staff will then check out the materials for you. An online catalogue of free e-books and audio books is available on the library website. Find out more at krls.org. Follow the library on Facebook here.

SUMMERTIME ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Paul Bunyan Playhouse postponed their 2020 summer stock theater season. The same plays (All Shook Up, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Grease, Sylvia and Young Frankenstein) are tentatively set to be performed in the 2021 season, pending licensing.

The Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival has not been cancelled. The yearly festivities, with events leading up to the races the first weekend of August, are still scheduled. ”

“With more than 100 days until July 29th, we are still moving forward with the festival as planned and continue to closely follow local and state health recommendations as they develop,” the organizers said on their Facebook page.


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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