Situation Update for Tuesday, April 21

Posted at 10:00 a.m. Updated at 11:20 a.m.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health, as of Tuesday, reports an additional 97 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state and 17 new deaths since yesterday, bringing the positive case total to 2,567 and 160 deaths.

Over 1,200 patients have recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

To date, 629 patients have required some sort of hospitalization. There are 237 currently hospitalized, and 117 in the ICU, a decrease of nine ICU patients since yesterday.

Congregate living settings for either staff or residents account for 28 percent cases of what MDH believes to be likely exposure to the virus.

Some of Minnesota’s largest companies have been called upon to help the state seek out medical equipment, including PPE, as supply chain issues have resulted in states competing against one another, and even against other countries, to get the supplies needed in the fight against COVID-19.

Minnesota companies, big and small, have offered support to get scarce medical supplies necessary to protect front line health care workers. Companies like CH Robinson, Toro, Patterson, Woodchuck USA, Wintergreen, 3M, and Mayo have all stepped up, according to a release from Gov. Tim Walz’s office.

One notable example, Ecolab, Inc. pledged the company’s assistance in helping the state source supplies from around the world. Jill Wyant, Ecolab’s Executive Vice President and President of Global Regions, is coordinating closely with the state in enlisting supply chain, procurement, and logistics expertise from the state’s top companies.

The Governor and Commissioners of Agriculture, Health, and Labor and Industry also commented on the COVID-19 outbreak in Worthington and voluntary closing of the JBS pork plant in yesterday’s briefing, available below. They acknowledged the difficulty this poses for the community but highlighted the importance of worker safety, need for additional testing, and communication with local officials and community leaders to help those affected by the plant closure.

LOCAL UPDATES

MDH reported Tuesday one additional case of COVID-19 in Polk County, bringing their total to four.

Immediate and nearby counties otherwise remain the same: Beltrami County has five cases, Clearwater County has three, Cass County has four, Itasca County has two, and Koochiching, Mahnomen, Becker and Roseau Counties each have one case.

Beltrami County Sheriff Ernie Beitel confirmed today that one inmate at the Beltrami County Jail tested positive for COVID-19 in the last week. The inmate and the arresting officer are currently in quarantine. Read more about it here.

The Bemidji City Council discussed special event permitting during their meeting last night. While no formal action was taken, the council will not approve any special event applications until the Governor’s stay at home order expires on May 4, and will revisit the issue then. Read more about Monday night’s city council meeting here.

The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to discuss a resolution, introduced earlier this week, that would encourage the Walz Administration to reopen bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation, which were ordered to close in some of the earlier executive orders. Read more about the meeting, and how to access it, here.

Representative John Persell, who represents Bemidji and the rest of House District 5A in the Minnesota Legislature, said he fully supports the Governor’s decision last week to allow golfing, fishing and other outdoor recreational activities and business resume. In an interview today, he said he pushed for dock installers to be considered essential.


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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