Situation Update Thursday, May 21

STATE UPDATES

The Minnesota Department of Health reported an additional 539 of positive COVID-19 cases and 32 newly reported deaths, bringing the state’s cumulative total to 18,200 cases and 809 deaths.

Of those deaths, 663 were residents of long-term care or assisted living facilities. To date, 2,120 health care workers are confirmed to have contracted the virus at some point during the outbreak.

Over 173,000 Minnesotans have been tested for COVID-19, and 12,488 are recovered to the point they no longer need to be isolated.

There are currently 556 hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms and of those, 229 are in intensive care.

Phase three of Gov. Walz’s “Stay Safe MN” will allow the limited reopening of salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, as well as outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, beginning June 1.

Walz also discussed youth sports resuming in a limited capacity, as well as camping.

Minnesota Parks and Trails announced that some of the state’s parks will be ready to accept overnight visitors starting June 1, but some others may take more time to get ready.

Steve Grove, the DEED Commissioner, said MnDOT will be looking into allowing the use of right-of-ways, sidewalks and parking spots for expanded outdoor dining, as tables must be six feet apart and no more than 50 people at a time at any particular restaurant.

Reservations at restaurants will be required and masks, except while eating, will be encouraged.

Salons, barbershops and tattoo parlor stylists and artists must wear masks, as do their clients, and no walk-ins will be allowed.

Outdoor and indoor religious services are still limited to 10-person congregations at a time. Some Christian sects, such as the Minnesota Lutherans and the Minnesota Catholics, plan to defy this order and resume services after May 26, at a fraction of their full capacity.

LOCAL UPDATES

The Bemidji City Council discussed some ideas to accommodate outdoor dining at local restaurants during their regular meeting Monday. No action was taken that night, but plans to develop temporary solutions, such as closing off street sections on a rotating basis, blocking off parking spots and allowing use of sidewalks, are underway.

Sanford Health has updated their visitor policy as of yesterday. According to a release, one adult visitor is allowed to accompany a patient at a time during visiting hours 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Read more here.

Little change to the COVID-19 situation was reported by the Minnesota Department of Health today for this area. Only one case was added to Itasca County’s case count, bringing their total to 51 with six deaths. Cass County is still showing 11 cases with two deaths, and Beltrami County’s case count, according to MDH, is nine, but Beltrami Public Health confirmed that only seven of those cases currently reside in this county, with six recovered.


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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