Situation Update for Wednesday, April 15

Posted at 11:07 a.m.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

STATE UPDATES

Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn) said she is working on new legislation to support small businesses and rural hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota’s junior senator also said the CARES Act stimulus checks, which many are starting to see in direct deposits, will not need to be reimbursed. Read more about it here.

The Minnesota Department of Health reports that as of Wednesday, there have been 8 deaths from COVID-19 and 114 new cases reported since yesterday. That brings the total to 87 deaths and 1,809 cases of COVID-19. Over 900 patients no longer need to be isolated. There have been 445 cases requiring hospitalization, and 197 Minnesotans are currently in the hospital. Of those, 93 are in ICU, 18 more than what was reported yesterday.

Governor Tim Walz emphasized his support for a series of proposals moving through the legislature to help Minnesotans weather COVID-19. The proposals will ensure that Minnesotans will be able to use Medicaid and MinnesotaCare to receive care at temporary COVID-19 care sites; allow anyone who is uninsured to be eligible for medical assistance coverage; and clarify that telephone care is telemedicine, streamlining remote visits for Minnesotans.

House Republicans were unsuccessful in ending Governor Walz’s peacetime state of emergency in a debate Tuesday on the House Floor. Representative Steve Drazkowski and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt each unsuccessfully introduced resolutions to terminate the declaration.

“I don’t want anybody to misinterpret anything that I’m saying as being critical of the governor,” Daudt said. “…This governor didn’t ask for this. The problem for us is that he’s acting on information that we most often don’t have. And I think the biggest and most important part of ending this emergency declaration is that we need the Legislature to be brought back up to its co-equal branch of government status.”

House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler opposed both resolutions.

“I am shocked — with lives on the line in Minnesota, with thousands of our citizens at risk of death and certainly far more at risk of very serious illness — that we are trying to end the measures that are allowing us to outperform the rest of the country in dealing with this crisis,” he said.

LOCAL UPDATES

MDH reports one new case of COVID-19 in this area. The new case is in Clearwater County, bringing their total to three. Beltrami County still has five cases, Cass County has four, Itasca has two, and Koochiching, Roseau, Polk and Mahnomen counties each have one confirmed positive case. The Good Samaritan Society of International Falls, a congregate living facility, has a case, accounting for the sole COVID-19 positive patient in Koochiching County.

Sanford Bemidji now has the ability to test for COVID-19 in as little as 45 minutes. Read more about it here.

The city of Bagley is under a daily curfew, which began last Friday, April 10 and will continue until May 10. The curfew is enforceable from 10:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Read more about it here.

The Bemidji Public Library is now offering curbside service for library materials. Visit the library’s website to select your materials, the library will then contact you about when they’ll be available, and then patrons will need to contact the library for more specific pick up instructions. Find out more here.

Ruby’s Pantry, in response to growing needs in the area, will be in Bemidji this afternoon. The food distribution process will be different than usual and will follow social distancing guidelines. Find out more here.


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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