Situation Update for Tuesday, March 31

Posted at 9:11 a.m. Updated at 12:50 p.m.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available. 

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health, at latest count Tuesday, confirmed 629 cases of COVID-19 in the state, up 53 from yesterday. Almost 19,800 have been tested, and 288 have recovered and no longer need to be isolated. There have been 12 deaths related to the COVID-19 outbreak, 112 have been hospitalized so far and 56 remain hospitalized. Twenty-six Minnesotans are in intensive care.

MDH provided more statistics on age ranges in their daily update. The age range for all positive cases is 5-months-old to 104-years-old, with the median age of 46. The non-hospitalized cases age range is the same, with the median age of 42. The hospitalized case age range is 6-years-old to 95-years-old, and intensive care age range is from 33 to 95 years of age. The median age of those who have died of COVID-19 complications is 86, with the age range being 58 to 95.

Gov. Walz will give an address at 2 p.m.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development released new guidelines to help manage the large influx of applications to unemployment insurance. To ensure the online system can handle the increased activity, DEED is asking new applicants to apply on an assigned day. If the last digit of your social security number is a 0, 1 or 2, apply Monday; 3, 4 or 5, apply Tuesday; 6,7,8 or 9, apply Wednesday, and any number can apply online Thursday and Friday. The day you file for benefits will not affect the amount of benefits you receive.

DEED also seeking lenders to participate in the Small Business Loan Guarantee program. DEED will work with lenders throughout the state to use the loan guarantees to support small business loans. The loan guarantees can only leverage funds for Minnesota businesses with fewer than the equivalent of 250 employees, which includes the total of all employees at a parent company and at any additional locations. The program will provide an 80% guarantee up to a maximum of $200,000, therefore the maximum loan amount in the loan guarantee program would be $250,000. The program will be open for up to 12 months from the declaration of the peacetime emergency under Executive Order 20-01 on March 13. For more information, view the DEED lender website.

DWI arrests are down nearly 70 percent across the state amid the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Last weekend, 94 were arrested for DWI, where last year on the same weekend, there were 293 DWI arrests. Gov. Tim Walz said in a press briefing yesterday afternoon that traffic is down 70 percent in rural areas and 79 percent in the metro area.

LOCAL UPDATES

Beltrami County Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen confirmed today that there are currently four cases of COVID-19 in Beltrami County. She says all cases are travel related, including international, out-of-state and to other parts of Minnesota.

“Of course, they could have contracted the disease locally,” she said, but added that all of Beltrami’s cases appear as though the disease was contracted via travel.

Borgen also provided some insight as to why MDH occasionally places cases in the wrong county. She says that sometimes a person’s post office box is in a different place than where they live, or live close to a county border.

Greater Bemidji is looking to help local businesses affected by Gov. Walz’s executive orders, and has secured some funding from Beltrami County. Read more about it here.

The United Way of the Bemidji Area Board of Directors recently awarded $19,500 between three organizations through the COVID-19 emergency fund.

  • Meals on Wheels received their full funding request to support extra meals for seniors. The program is providing an extra 14 days of meals to help their clients stay home through April 10.
  • The Nameless Coalition for the Homeless will receive their full funding request in collaboration with Village of Hope, People’s Church, Beltrami County and Super 8 Motel. The hotel’s annexed building east of the main hotel will lodge the homeless in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.
  • Evergreen Youth and Family Services will also receive funds for basic necessities, such as hygiene items, cleaning supplies and non-perishable food. Evergreen also received their full funding request.
  • The United Way’s Backpack Buddies food pack program will also receive funding. They are now serving over 700 children in the area.

United Way will continue to fundraise and allocate Emergency Funds on a rolling basis. For more information, visit their website.


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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