Situation Update for Monday, May 11

Posted at 11:14 a.m.

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health today announced an additional 528 COVID-19 cases and an additional 13 COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total to 11,799 cases and 591 deaths. MDH reports a total of 1,379 health care workers confirmed to have the viral disease at some point, and of the deaths, 472 occurred in residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities.

To date, 115,781 Minnesotans have been tested for COVID-19, with 4,693 completed in a 24-hour period. As of today, 7,536 have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated. There have been 1,716 cumulative hospitalizations related to COVID-19, and today, 452 are hospitalized with 194 in the intensive care unit.

The Minnesota Legislature was asked by Gov. Tim Walz Friday to replenish the COVID-19 fund. Without extension by the legislature, it was set to expire today, May 11.

“The COVID-19 fund is saving lives by increasing our testing capacity, ensuring we have enough hospital beds for every Minnesotan who needs care, and purchasing much-needed personal protective equipment,” said Governor Walz.

“Minnesota has made progress, but this is a winter, not a blizzard. The House of Representatives took a good first step today by extending the expiration date, but the need for more funding remains. I look forward to working with the Legislature to extend the fund until June 30, 2021 and replenish the fund so Minnesotans can continue to get the resources they need to weather this pandemic.”

MAYO CLINIC

The Mayo Clinic was recently awarded a $26 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the office for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to expand access for the convalescent plasma program in the fight against COIVD-19.

The national program, led by Mayo Clinic researcher Michael Joyner, coordinates a national online physician-patient registry that speeds access and increases availability of experimental convalescent plasma for hospitalized patients.

As of last week, more than 2,000 hospitals and 4,000 physicians across the country have enrolled 10,000 patients into the program. More than 5,000 patients nationwide have been infused and thousands more are potentially eligible for convalescent plasma.

“Mayo Clinic mobilized quickly to advance convalescent plasma in a scientific way,” says Dr. Joyner, a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist and the program’s principal investigator.

“We are pleased to work with our colleagues and the federal government to fight this pandemic every way we can as part of Mayo’s patient-focused mission. The genuine collaboration of researchers across the nation is key to realizing the full potential of convalescent plasma treatment.”

The federal support will help cover the cost of collecting and distributing the convalescent plasma, increase patient access, and support the scientific and regulatory infrastructure to operate the program. Mayo Clinic serves as the central Institutional Review Board (IRB) to oversee the EAP.

LOCAL UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed over the weekend the first deaths from COVID-19 in Cass and Polk counties.

To date, there have been a total of six COVID-19 cases in Beltrami County, two in Clearwater, eight in Cass, three in Mahnomen and 33 reported in Itasca County.

Mahnomen County reported their first death due to COVID-19 last week. The Emeralds in Grand Rapids has been identified as a congregate care facility with an outbreak of COVID-19. Beltrami County Public Health confirmed last week that the six cases in Beltrami County have all recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

Case numbers are cumulative, meaning that even if all patients in a particular county have recovered, MDH will still report the number of cases that have ever been associated with that county.

Nearby Polk County has 52 COVID-19 cases, Marshall has eight, Pennington has one, Roseau has one, Koochiching now has two and Becker County has 25.

As elective surgery restrictions ease, healthcare facilities are preparing to support both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients at the same time. Assistant News Director, Operations Manager and all-around team player Kev Jackson interviewed Sanford Health officials late last week on their plans to resume elective surgeries, which are allowed as of today. Find out more here.

UNITED WAY

The United Way of Bemidji Area’s board of directors has awarded $104,500 to local organizations through the Emergency Fund response to COVID-19.

In the recent round of allocations:

  • Churches United received their funding request to purchase food vouchers for families in need.
  • Northwoods Battered Women’s Shelter received funds to help with basic needs and housing for families in crisis.
  • People’s Church, which has seen an influx of people and needs, received funding to keep their shelter open for longer hours.
  • Journey Outreach received funding for Sunday meals for the homeless and families in need.
  • Cass Lake Food Shelf received funds to purchase extra food for their increase in numbers, which is now serving Beltrami County.

United Way of Bemidji Area will continue to fundraise and allocate Emergency Funds on a rolling basis. For more information about the Emergency Funds or for an application, call the United Way office at 444-8929 or visit www.UnitedWayBemidji.org.


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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