Posted at 9:45 a.m. Updated at 11:06 a.m.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available.
The Minnesota Department of Health reports there are now 1,695 more cases of COVID-19, 45 more than what was reported yesterday. Over 900 patients no longer need to be isolated, and over 38,000 have been tested for the virus.
As of Tuesday, April 14, there have been 79 deaths, up 9 from Monday’s report. There are 75 Minnesotans in the ICU today, and another 102 are hospitalized. There have been 405 hospitalizations for COVID-19 patients so far.
Gov. Tim Walz extended the peacetime state of emergency for another 30 days, set to expire May 13.
“Minnesota’s actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” said Gov. Walz.
“The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us – an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation.”
Members of the New House Republican Caucus are challenging the extension.
“This is a question of constitutional process,” said Rep. Cal Bahr (Republican-East Bethel).
“The Governor’s thirty-day peacetime emergency order has come to an end. Now, the Minnesota Legislature should decide what executive orders should be codified, and which should not. Our constitution entrusts the co-equal branches of government to make decisions, not the Governor alone. Our institutions are strong enough to handle this crisis.”
“The Governor’s executive orders were well-intentioned and designed to protect public health. We commend him for that,” said Rep. Tim Miller (Republican-Prinsburg).
“However, the longterm use of these executive orders, and the social isolation they create, has caused harmful unintended consequences. What was good policy many weeks ago has now created heavy burdens for many people. Minnesotans are entitled to weigh in on the Governor’s actions.”
Additionally, the resolution will allow the Minnesota Legislature to strike a proper balance between protecting public health and revitalizing a slowing economy.
Gov. Walz, according to a release, is also keeping a close eye on state spending. Yesterday, he announced an executive branch hiring freeze and pay cuts for himself and members of his cabinet. Minnesota will receive an updated budget projection in early May to get a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact on the state’s finances.
Gov. Walz also responded to a troubling spike in traffic fatalities due to speeding and reckless driving, urging Minnesotans to follow traffic rules and to drive safely, even though there are fewer cars on the road.
MDH reports one change in local COVID-19 numbers.
Cass County now has four cases. Beltrami County still has five cases, Clearwater and Itasca each have two cases, and Mahnomen, Polk, Koochiching and Roseau Counties each have one case.
Koochiching County’s singular case is at the Good Samaritan Society International Falls congregate living facility.
Beltrami County Emergency Management and the Minnesota Department of Health provided some guidance for homemade facial coverings and masks.
Guidelines for Cloth Face Coverings
You may choose to wear a cloth face covering when out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:
- Young children under age 2,
- Anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the covering without assistance
- Cloth face covers are used in addition to social distancing (stay-at-home, maintain 6 feet of separation in public or work setting) and hand hygiene.
- Wash or sanitize your hands before and after touching the face cover and adjusting the cover
- Wash the face cover in hot water after use or daily
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes
- Do not use medical grade masks as a face cover
- Wearing a cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing (maintaining 6ft from other people) or frequently washing your hands
- Before putting on the covering, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or rub your hands together thoroughly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Holding the covering by the ear loops, make sure the metallic strip is at the top of the covering and positioned against the bridge of your nose.
- Hold the covering by both ear loops and place one loop over each ear.
- Mold the bendable metallic upper strip to the shape of your nose by pinching and pressing down on it with your fingers.
- Pull the bottom of the covering over your mouth and chin.
- Be sure the mask fits snugly.
- Don’t touch the covering or your face once in position.
- After taking off the covering, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or rub your hands together thoroughly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
The Loop the Lake festival, hosted by Bike Bemidji and originally scheduled for June 20, was cancelled.
Previous announcements included the cancellations of the Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic (scheduled for June 13), and the Fishing Has No Boundaries Paul Bunyan Chapter event for 2020.
The 2020 season of the Paul Bunyan Playhouse was postponed until 2021. They plan to perform the same plays, depending on licensing.
Summer events still scheduled to proceed include the Bemidji Jaycees’ Water Carnival, the Lake Bemidji Dragon Boat Festival and the two Moondance Jam concert events.