Situation Update for Thursday, April 2

Posted at 10:00 a.m. Updated at 11:11 a.m.

This article will be updated throughout the day as more information becomes available.

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health reports there have now been 18 deaths due to complications from COVID-19.

There have now been 742 patients who have tested positive in Minnesota, and of those, 373 have recovered and no longer need to be isolated. Almost 23,000 tests have been completed at both MDH and external laboratories.

So far, 138 patients have needed hospitalization, and 75 remain hospitalized. Thirty-eight are in ICU care to date, and there are 235 ICU beds available in the state.

MDH provides additional data on how patients were exposed to the virus: 31 percent are linked to community transmission, 20 percent from travel to another state, 22 percent with known exposure to a case, 15 percent from international travel and 3 percent were exposed after boarding a cruise ship. Ten percent of cases have no known exposure data.

All patients with COVID-19 are between the ages of 4 months and 104 years, with a median age of 47. Non-hospitalized median age is 42, with the age range of 4 months to 104 years. Hospitalized cases range from 6 to 98, with a median age of 64. Hospitalized cases in ICU range from 25 to 98 with a median age of 63, and deaths range from 58 to 95 with a median age of 83. Fifty-two percent of COVID-19 patients are female, and 48 percent are male.

Housing advocates and legislators are calling for rental assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stakeholders say $100 million in rental assistance would address the struggles faced by renters, landlords and small businesses.

“Many Minnesotans are one paycheck away from being unable to pay their rent, and that was the case before COVID-19,” said Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL – St. Paul) chair of the House Housing Policy and Finance Division. “Though Minnesotans are unable to be evicted during the pandemic, with thousands unemployed, we need to make sure there isn’t a backlog of debt for those that are unable to pay their rent. We can help solve that by delivering rental assistance to those that need it right now.”

Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order that halts evictions, but that order does not cancel rent. With more than 250,000 Minnesotans facing unemployment, renters and housing providers are concerned about their financial future.

The application process for child care providers emergency grants is now open. There are approximately 420,000 children under the age of 12 who live in a household of an essential worker within critical sector, according to a release. Of these, estimates are that during this peacetime emergency, about 270,000 will need care and approximately 120,000 are likely to need and use licensed child care settings.

Grant applications can be found online.

Gov. Walz is expected to deliver the State of the State address from the Governor’s residence this Sunday, April 5. The address will be delivered live and can be watched on YouTube live. The previously scheduled address to the legislature was cancelled due to COVID-19.

LOCAL UPDATES

The Bemidji Public Library gave away free books and movies yesterday, none of which need to be returned. According to a Facebook post, there are plenty more books expected to be given away, but due to today’s rainy forecast, another box of free materials will be set outside the library on a drier day. The library remains closed to the public.

On our Classic Rock station, Z99, we will be doing an all-request morning show Friday, April 3, from 7 to 10 a.m. If you request a song, please do so on the Facebook page and consider making a donation to the United Way of Bemidji Area’s local Emergency Fund. Find out more at z99fm.com and check out our Facebook page.

Bemidji Area Schools are now closed to the general pubic. According to a release from superintendent Tim Lutz, the closure is a mitigation strategy for slowing the spread of COVID-19. Exceptions to the action are for students receiving critical worker childcare and families picking up meals and distance learning materials. Anyone who needs to contact the district office can call 333-3100.

RED LAKE Nation

Red Lake Band’s Chairman Darrel Seki has declared Medical Martial Law, which will be in effect Friday at 5 p.m. According to an executive order, the tribal council recently enacted a resolution that supports the Chairman’s declaration in the event a resident of the Red Lake Reservation, or a person who regularly works in Red Lake, tests positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The order states that a Red Lake member, who lives off the reservation, tested positive for the virus. The medical martial law stipulations include stringent travel restrictions, restrictions on interactions between people and restrictions on the size of both public and private gatherings. The Red Lake member that reportedly tested positive lives in Beltrami County and may have traveled to Red Lake.

Residents will be allowed to shop for food and necessities, care for elders and vulnerable persons, attend medical appointments and travel to and from essential employment. Funerals and wakes will be limited to ten adults at one time and no children will be allowed.

All travel to and from the Red Lake Reservation will be strictly monitored to ensure that only essential travel is taking place. The order declaring Medical Martial Law will be in effect for 15 days after Friday, and may be reviewed for renewal.

Rosie’s Red Lake Rescue, which provides humanitarian services to animals, will be closed due to the Red Lake-mandated quarantine. Only emergency medical surrenders will be accepted. Messages can be left at (218)268-4477.

Koochiching County has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. According to a release, Minnesota Department of Health officials are identifying and contacting anyone that has been in close contact with the patient. No further information is available, such as their age, where they live or how they contracted the virus.


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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