Blogosphere

Notice of Restricted Outdoor Burning in Rice County

KYMN Radio - Sat, 03/28/2020 - 12:11pm

Effective immediately, we have been directed by our DNR Regional office to implement Burning Permit Restrictions in our counties.  Restrictions mean that (in an electronic burning permit county) the only burning permits that can be activated and legally burned are variance permits. A variance is a burning permit issued for over 1 acre of grass

The post Notice of Restricted Outdoor Burning in Rice County appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Student journalism across the country goes online in the face of COVID-19

Carletonian - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 9:15pm

In the age of COVID-19, student journalism is adjusting. Across the country, student-run, college newspapers are rushing to go completely online in order to provide information and a sense of community to an outspread network of readers. 

Following President Steven Poskanzer’s email on Thursday, March 12, detailing Carleton’s plan to extend spring break and switch to online classes for the first half of spring term, the Carletonian relied heavily on social media outlets to share updates. For example, the publication posted articles and breaking updates on Facebook and created an opt-in online newsletter for all students. 

Student newspapers at peer institutions have had similar experiences navigating the shift to the web. On March 18, The Middlebury Campus, Middlebury’s student-run newspaper, hosted a discussion-based webinar titled “College Journalism in the Age of COVID-19.” Seven staff members from the Carletonian attended the webinar, along with 58 student journalists from peer institutions. 

Benjy Renton, editor-at-large for The Middlebury Campus, spoke about the experience of organizing and hosting the webinar: “There’s no textbook for coronavirus, there’s no one telling you the thing you should do because no one knows. And there’s no way to know what is right and wrong. I think as people try out new methods and practices, it’s great to share all of that.”

The webinar centered around the task of switching to an online interface. At Bates, the student newspaper has been very active through Instagram. Bates student Vanessa Paolell ’21 expressed excitement at the extent of support from students. “In the last week and a half, our followers have increased by more than 100,” she said. 

What are the next steps for student newspapers like the Carletonian, The Middlebury Campus, and The Bates Student? “I think we should see student journalism as a way to get accurate information and get updated information about what the college is doing to deal with this on multiple fronts.” said Renton.  “I encourage people to keep thinking out of the box, whether it’s hosting more community forums or events or webinars.” 

Renton explained an initiative that The Middlebury Campus is taking: “One thing that we did last week was our top editors put a link out to a form so that people could send in stories about their experience. We’re trying to set up a kind of quarantine diaries. We’re trying to get a small group of maybe 6 people to write about their experiences wherever they are.”

Innovation through technology has been the cornerstone of student journalism over the past few weeks. Paolella, speaking on The Bates Student, said “Even if we can’t be at Bates right now, we can still be together in so many other ways and we’ve had a fantastic time so far trying to put together our first digital issue.”

This in itself—the relative ease of switching from print to online—speaks to the many ways that campus journalism has changed over the years. 

“Journalism itself reflects the culture by evolving in its use of authority, informal language, images, data, and technology” said Carleton English Professor Susan McKinstry. “I think over time the Carletonian functions as a remarkable window into each era, into what was happening, what mattered, how people spoke to and about one another.”

  This observation prompts self-reflection for writers and readers alike: what window does the Carletonian (and weekly newspapers at peer institutions) offer right now?

Former Editor-in-Chief of the Carletonian Bruce Lenthall ’90 provided some insight into his experience of the publishing process, including the late-night Thursday printing and early Friday morning ritual of stuffing every student mailbox with a copy. 

“All the editors would come exhausted and bleary-eyed and stuff mailboxes,” said Lenthall. “That was a lovely moment because it didn’t require any thought and you were seeing the fruits of your labor. But from the standpoint of students, this meant that every student on campus was getting a paper that day, and every student was looking at the stories in the same kind of way.” 

“I think it was a nice moment in which the college was able to talk to itself,” he concluded.

Over the years, as the Carletonian became accessible online, the mailbox tradition lost momentum. Today, not every student receives a personal copy of the Carletonian, but has the option of reading online or picking up a newsstand copy. Gauging readership is difficult as students have almost unlimited access to national and local news sources via the internet. 

However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, student newspapers have demonstrated a continued and evolving commitment to local information access. 

Lenthall added some insight into the role of student journalism in the media storm that is covering the coronavirus pandemic, asking “Where does news get made?” 

News related to how the college will serve its students is, for the most part, disseminated by the administration. However, Lenthall continued, “That’s not the only place that news gets made. News gets made with the faculty, news gets made with the students. And those voices don’t have the same kind of megaphone to reach the whole of the college. And those voices can circulate in Facebook groups and Twitter feeds and small circles. But not necessarily to everyone.” 

Another resounding theme amongst college newspapers is the hope to foster community in “this strange place that we find ourselves,” as McKinstry puts it.  “For all of us, wherever we are, the Carletonian can tell the stories we want to hear about the people, the College, the community now.” 

“This strange place” is spread out across the globe, students connecting through virtual classrooms and social media. “We’re not all in the same place, eating in the dining halls, going to class together, living together” said Renton. “I think student journalism is a way to bring the community together.”

Expanding on the theme of community, Lenthall added: “What’s most at risk is your sense of connection to this educational project.”

The post Student journalism across the country goes online in the face of COVID-19 appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Hospitals prepare for pandemic peak, advise residents to heed experts

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 6:40pm
Buying time. That’s the key to preventing more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, according to Gov. Tim Walz, his team of experts and health care leaders across the region.
Categories: Local News

Low fuel prices please area residents

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 6:30pm
With much of the world on near-lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, gas prices have been pushed to their lowest levels in three years across the state, providing a small but tangible benefit for essential workers.
Categories: Local News

Legislature approves $300 million package to boost economy

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 5:45pm
Minnesota’s Legislature took a break from its month-long hiatus on Thursday to join its federal counterparts in passing a sweeping stimulus package to help the state’s families and businesses.
Categories: Local News

Gov. Walz addresses Minnesotans on COVID-19, state faces supply shortages

Carletonian - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 5:20pm

The information presented in this article is drawn primarily from the Minnesota COVID-19 press conferences led by Governor Tim Walz.  These conferences will take place each weekday at 2:00 pm CST and can be listened to on Minnesota Public Radio. The Carletonian will provide summary coverage of these press conferences on a regular basis through updates to this page.

Wednesday, April 1: supply shortages remain dire despite federal assurances

During the daily Minnesota COVID-19 briefing, Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm spoke about continued shortages of testing supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Requests to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have often failed to result in new shipments, Malcolm said. According to Walz, federal reassurances about testing and PPE remain at odds with state officials’ experiences on the ground. Minnesota companies and laboratories are stepping up to manufacture supplies, but they too are finding that key components are on backorder.

The state is currently reporting 689 COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths. Among confirmed cases, the median age is 47, Malcolm said.

Minnesota is also reporting its first COVID-19 case within the state prison system after an individual at Moose Lake Correctional Facility tested positive, according to Malcolm. The state is working directly with Moose Lake to respond to the case and isolate the individual.

State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly noted that many people are offering to sew homemade masks in face of the PPE shortage. Although such cloth masks are not adequate for healthcare providers on the frontlines, Kelly said, they may help prevent infectious individuals from spreading the disease, as well as helping to protect healthy individuals. Because COVID-19 is spread primarily by droplets, a cloth mask could provide good “source control” for an infectious person, Kelly explained.

Increased use of cloth masks in congregate living facilities could help prevent asymptomatic individuals from spreading the virus within these vulnerable communities. Kelly encouraged Minnesotans who sew masks to distribute them locally to transit workers, the elderly, caregivers, incarcerated individuals, and jail employees, as well as to hospital employees who do not work directly with patients. 

Cloth mask usage is currently prioritized for individuals in congregate care facilities and lower-risk healthcare positions, said Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresman. However, according to Malcolm, it would “not be overprotective” for any individual to wear such a mask when they leave the house. FDA-grade masks, such as N95 masks, should be diverted solely to frontline healthcare workers.

Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove continued by noting that his office has seen an increased number of applications from healthcare workers, as procedures like elective surgeries and dental check-ups have been halted. Grove encouraged these individuals to consider applying for jobs in other areas of healthcare that are in critical need of workers.

Grove said that those who apply for unemployment insurance can expect a check within one to two weeks. The benefits will be backdated to the date that the individual was separated from their pay, he said. 

In face of the worsening nationwide crisis, Walz said that he will make a decision next week about whether Minnesota’s stay-at-home order will be extended. The governor is not currently considering any type of increased enforcement beyond a stay-at-home order.

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Tuesday, March 31: Minnesota identifies alternative sites for medical care

During the daily Minnesota COVID-19 press conference, State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly outlined plans to identify alternate sites for medical care, as projections indicate that COVID-19 is likely to overwhelm the state’s healthcare capacity. Minnesota is currently reporting 629 cases and 12 deaths due to COVID-19.

According to Kelly, the Alternate Care Site Planning Team has identified five sites throughout the state that could accommodate up to 600 beds. His team hopes to eventually identify 2,750 beds, including 1,000 in the Twin Cities metro area and 1,750 in Greater Minnesota.

Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove provided an update on demographic information for unemployment insurance applicants. He noted that 38% of applicants since March 16 hold a high school diploma or less, while 41% have some college or an associate’s degree. The state has seen 255,000 applications since March 16.

Heather Mueller, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Education, announced that statewide standardized testing requirements for K-12 students have been waived. This means that the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) will not be administered. 

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Monday, March 30: Distance learning begins for Minnesota K-12 students

After the first weekend of the state stay-at-home order, Minnesota is reporting 576 COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, Governor Tim Walz said in his daily COVID-19 update.  

Thirty-one congregate care facilities—a category that includes sites such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, homeless shelters, and domestic violence shelters—have reported at least one case, according to Jan Malcolm, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health. As soon as one case is reported, the state immediately begins working with that facility to implement an action plan.

Minnesota students grades K-12 began online classes today through the state’s distance learning program. This follows an eight-day planning period for educators that began on March 18. Many schools served meals and offered childcare during this time, according to Heather Mueller, Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Education.

Walz reported that Minnesotans appear to be taking the stay-at-home order seriously. Throughout the month of March, traffic flow has dropped more than 70% in the state, he said. 

Walz clarified that essential employees who are immunocompromised, or otherwise at high risk for contracting COVID-19, should not report to work. In response to reports that some employers are still requiring such employees to work, Walz encouraged affected workers to contact state offices to report a breach of the stay-at-home order. The state intends to enforce the order if necessary, he said.  

The governor also acknowledged that the stay-at-home order presents challenges for victims of domestic violence. Over the weekend, two-thirds of police calls were related to domestic violence, he said. Walz reiterated that the order encourages residents to leave their homes if their living situation is unsafe. Domestic violence shelters are essential services and will remain open.

The state continues to prioritize the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE) by working with Minnesota companies and investigating new supply chains. State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly told residents that they can donate PPE at several Salvation Army locations statewide. 

Kelly also mentioned that blood banks are facing shortages. He encouraged Minnesotans to donate blood, noting that facilities have taken steps to ensure the safety of donors.

Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove continued by announcing a new system to streamline unemployment insurance applications, as the state faces an unprecedented application volume. Residents will now be asked to apply on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday based on the last digit of their Social Security number. Thursday and Friday will be open to all applicants. 

Grove said that Minnesota has received more unemployment insurance applications since March 16 than it did in all of 2019. He encouraged Minnesotans in search of work to look into critical industries—such as nursing, personal care services, and security services—that are currently hiring in large numbers.

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Friday, March 27: Statewide stay-at-home order goes into effect tonight

Minnesota is set to enter into a stay-at-home order this evening at 11:59 pm in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The state is currently reporting 398 cases and four deaths from the virus. 

All fatalities have been among individuals in their 80’s, according to Jan Malcolm, commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Health. The two most recent deaths occurred in long-term care facilities, Governor Tim Walz reported in his daily COVID-19 update. 

Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann noted that 17 congregate living facilities in Minnesota have seen at least one case. These communal facilities, especially those housing elderly individuals, are particularly susceptible to the spread of disease. 

The state has set up teams to work directly with these facilities to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and communicate protocol for isolating cases. In an ideal world, Ehresmann noted, all staff at such facilities would wear masks even when no case had been detected at that site. This would prevent the virus from spreading from staff to residents. However, due to the significant shortage of PPE, these measures are currently impossible, she said.

The governor also signed an executive order allowing medical licensing boards to modify requirements to get more healthcare professionals on the front lines. This measure will not “cut corners” for licensing, but will instead speed up processes, Walz said.

State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly continued by reminding the public that questions about COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order should be addressed through state websites and COVID-19 hotlines, rather than by calling 911. Emergency lines have been unsafely tied up by a large volume of non-emergency calls related to the virus, Kelly said.

With respect to education, Heather Mueller confirmed that the state’s distance learning program is set to begin on Monday, March 30. Minnesota public schools serving grades K-12 have been closed since March 18 by the governor’s order. Many schools have served meals to children in need throughout this time, as well as offering childcare for the children of emergency workers.

Walz also noted that he expects to grant extensions for Minnesotans to renew driver’s licenses and ID cards, since Driver and Vehicle Services offices will be closed during the stay-at-home. Residents can still renew their vehicle registration online during this time. Walz also reminded Minnesotans that the national deadline to obtain a Real ID has been pushed back to September 2021.

In recent days, Walz noted, Minnesota has seen a 49% decrease in traffic accidents, suggesting that orders to stay home are being taken seriously.

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Thursday, March 26: Walz provides clarification of stay-at-home order

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, in his daily COVID-19 update, offered clarification of the stay-at-home order set to begin on Friday, March 26 at 11:59 pm. “All Minnesotans are encouraged to voluntarily comply with this executive order,” the governor said. 

Walz emphasized that no one will be asked to carry papers or show a note of where they are going. Law enforcement will serve as “an education piece” when it comes to enforcing the order, he said.

The governor also informed the public of a second death from COVID-19 in Minnesota. There are now 346 cases statewide. Although the cases are largely concentrated in the Twin Cities metro area and the surrounding counties, Walz defended his decision to implement a stay-at-home order for the entire state. The measure ensures a “universal standard,” he said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Rice County—where Carleton is located—is reporting two cases of COVID-19. Neighboring Dakota County is reporting 25 cases.

MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm discouraged the public from traveling to rural areas of Minnesota for outdoor recreation. Rural counties with minimal healthcare infrastructure could easily become overwhelmed by the introduction of COVID-19, she explained.

Walz also took time to address reports of discrimination against Minnesota residents of Asian or Pacific Islander descent related to COVID-19. The governor condemned these occurrences and encouraged anyone who experiences a hate crime to report it to the state.

State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly continued by clarifying the measures Minnesota will take to increase intensive care unit (ICU) capacity. The additional ICU beds will be located exclusively in hospitals, Kelly said. Capacity will be increased, for example, by reclaiming areas typically used for elective surgeries, which have been temporarily halted due to COVID-19.

The state plans to establish alternate facilities to house non-critical care—for example, a patient recovering with a broken arm. Recently closed hospitals and nursing homes are the first choice for this purpose, Kelly said. The state would then consider other facilities with individual rooms, such as dormitories. An open public space—such as a sports arena or convention center—could be used as a last resort.

With respect to the economy, Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove reported that 5.9% of the Minnesota labor force has applied for unemployment insurance within the past week. Among workers affected by closures due to COVID-19, about 60% have access to some form of paid leave, Grove said.

Grove encouraged employees and businesses to visit mn.gov/deed/critical if they have questions about whether their services are defined as “essential” under the new stay-at-home order. Businesses can also fill out an inquiry form and receive a response within 24 hours, he said.

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Wednesday, March 25: Walz institutes stay-at-home order

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, set to take effect at 11:59 pm on Friday, March 27. The stay-at-home is planned to extend for two weeks until Friday, April 10. Walz also announced that restaurant closures are extended to May 1 and school closures to May 4.

The governor emphasized that residents may continue to leave their homes to engage in essential activities such as buying groceries, obtaining medical services, getting gas, and caring for others. Outdoor activities are permitted as long as social distancing is practiced. The order also makes allowances for homeless individuals and those who must relocate to ensure their own safety, including victims of domestic violence. 

Minnesotans employed in essential services that cannot be performed remotely are permitted to leave their homes to work. This includes those employed in healthcare, childcare, law enforcement, the food and agriculture sector, financial services, faith-related services, education, and news services. 

Also included in the essential services category are critical segments of sectors such as legal services, construction and repair work, transportation, social services, energy, manufacturing, and state and local government. The work of federal employees is not affected by the order. Walz noted that these essential services make up about 78% of employment in the state.

The governor explained that the order will not decrease the eventual infection rate, but will instead buy the state time to prepare for an influx of patients requiring critical care. According to the models used by Walz and his team, about 2.4 million Minnesotans are expected to eventually contract COVID-19, whether or not a shelter-in-place order is implemented. About 85% of these individuals will recover at home, 15% will be hospitalized, and 5% will require critical care, the governor said.

The state models predict that with no mitigation efforts, COVID-19 could result in 74,000 deaths statewide. In that scenario, Walz said, Minnesota would reach its peak infection rate in nine weeks, with intensive care unit (ICU) capacity being reached after only six weeks. 

At the peak, 6,000 ICU beds would be required statewide. Minnesota currently has a total of 235 ICU beds. Without an ICU bed, a COVID-19 patient’s chance of death increases tenfold, Walz explained.

The governor’s team anticipates that the two-week stay-at-home will move the peak infection date out by five weeks. This will give the state time to increase critical care capacity, an intensive effort that may involve converting stadiums to hospitals, Walz said. 

That time will also be used to acquire sufficient personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and to gather information about which residents should continue to remain at home, such as the elderly and those with preexisting conditions.

Walz noted that the two-week period could be extended if manufacturing capacity falls short of what is expected. However, he said he will make all efforts to limit the stay-at-home to two weeks to mitigate economic damage.

The governor also explained that he is working with neighboring states to assess how interstate travel could affect the order’s implementation. Wisconsin has instituted a stay-at-home order, but North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa have not. Travel in and out of Minnesota is permitted under Walz’s order.

According to the text of the order, a person who “willfully violates” the order is guilty of a misdemeanour and, if convicted, may be punished with a fine of less than $1,000 or imprisonment for less than 90 days. 

However, the order also urges Minnesotans to “voluntarily comply” and stresses that the order is not intended to encourage or allow law enforcement to transgress individual constitutional rights. Walz repeatedly stated that he was “asking” Minnesotans to comply.

The text of the stay-at-home order — known as Emergency Executive Order 20-20 — can be accessed from the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library at https://www.leg.state.mn.us/archive/execorders/20-20.pdf. This document also includes guidelines from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, offering further details about which positions are considered essential services.

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Tuesday, March 24: Walz declines to institute stay-at-home order at this time

In his daily address to Minnesotans on Tuesday, March 24, Gov. Tim Walz again declined to institute a stay-at-home order for the state. Statewide closures for schools, restaurants, and bars will remain in place, Walz said. Minnesota is now reporting 262 cases of COVID-19, but because testing has been limited, the true number is likely to be much higher.

Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove reported that Minnesota has received almost 150,000 applications for unemployment insurance in the past week. Over 48,000 of these applications came from the food services industry.  

Minnesotans ages 22-29 are the largest age group represented in the new applications, making up over 20% of all applicants. With respect to educational attainment, those who have had some college, but fewer than four years, make up the largest share of applicants.

State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly reminded listeners that the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is operating two COVID-19 public hotlines, one for medical questions and one for questions related to schools and childcare. The hotlines are accessible through the MDH website.

Kelly is also working with a team to examine options for expanding healthcare capacity for the critically ill. This could involve setting up additional intensive care unit beds outside of hospitals, such as in a motel or a gymnasium, Kelly said.

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Monday, March 23: Walz announces new executive orders for COVID-19 crisis

At his daily COVID-19 press conference on Monday, March 23, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and his team announced several new executive orders designed to provide both economic and medical support to Minnesotans.

The economic consequences of the pandemic are becoming increasingly visible, with 123,000 Minnesotans applying for unemployment insurance within the past week, according to Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove. Walz’s first executive order aims to offer some economic relief by placing a moratorium on evictions.

The governor also reported the establishment of a state emergency loan program designed to provide immediate relief to small businesses and independent contractors. According to Grove, businesses can apply for loans between $2,500 and $35,000, all of which are 50% forgivable. In addition, Minnesota is now eligible to participate in the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Program, which will give small businesses access to additional funds from the federal government.

With respect to healthcare, Walz issued an executive order asking non-medical facilities in possession of personal protective equipment (PPE) to take inventory of their stock. In a further effort to preserve PPE, the final executive order will halt elective veterinary surgeries.

The state made progress over the weekend in mobilizing supply chains to increase the availability of both PPE and COVID-19 testing. Additional stock of medical supplies was received from the federal government over the weekend, Walz said. Meanwhile, Minnesota performed 982 tests on Sunday, reducing the testing backlog to about 80 samples—down from a backlog of almost 1,300 samples on Friday afternoon. This testing brought Minnesota to a total of 235 COVID-19 cases, Walz reported.

State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly explained that the National Guard has been mobilized to assist with the COVID-19 crisis. In addition, Kelly said, his office is looking to set up a system to coordinate volunteer and donation effort in Minnesota communities. Walz also noted that the state tax deadline has been extended to July 15 to correspond with the federal extended deadline.

Walz declined to issue a stay-at-home order to Minnesotans, but reiterated that the option remains on the table. He noted that the Minnesota Department of Health is working with the University of Minnesota on COVID-19 modelling efforts to inform policy-making.

Among other Midwestern states, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin have all announced stay-at-home orders to take effect early this week. Illinois has been under such an order since Saturday. Nationwide, over a dozen states will have a stay-at-home order in place by Wednesday.

Walz himself is currently self-isolating at home after coming into contact with an individual who later tested positive for COVID-19. The governor is currently reporting no symptoms.


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Friday, March 20: Gov. Walz addresses Minnesotans on COVID-19, testing largely unavailable to Carleton students in Minnesota

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz addressed the public on the topic of COVID-19 on the afternoon of Friday, March 20, with similar press conferences now slated to take place each weekday at 2:00 pm CST. Walz was joined by State Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly, Commissioner of Employment and Economic Development Steve Grove, and Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), among others. 

Minnesota was reporting 137 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, March 21, with 48 new cases added since Wednesday. One of these new cases is in Rice County, where Carleton is located. The first COVID-19 death in the state was confirmed by the MDH on Saturday, March 21.

The Minnesota patients range in age from 17 to 94 years old, Ehresmann said. Eight of these patients have required hospitalization.

According to Walz, the state is struggling to increase testing due to shortages of reagents necessary to run the samples once test kits have been collected. There were 1,291 samples awaiting testing at the MDH as of Friday afternoon, Walz said. 

About 4,000 COVID-19 tests have been performed in Minnesota to date. According to data from the COVID Tracking Project and the US Census Bureau, Minnesota ranks 18th among US states for number of tests performed per capita. California, New York, and Washington account for nearly half of all tests performed in the United States.

Minnesota has implemented measures to prioritize who qualifies for a test. Testing is currently limited to hospitalized patients, ill healthcare workers, and ill residents of long-term care facilities, according to the MDH website. This means that COVID-19 testing is currently largely unavailable to Carleton students staying on campus and elsewhere in Minnesota. 

Individuals who begin to feel ill but are ineligible for testing are encouraged to self-isolate and avoid seeking care if their symptoms are mild, Ehresmann said. These individuals are not included in the state’s official count of COVID-19 cases.

Addressing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers is another top priority for Walz and his team. This week, Walz halted elective surgery procedures to preserve PPE supplies. The state is searching for additional PPE supply chains in collaboration with Minnesota businesses and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The governor outlined several additional measures taken in recent days to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The state activated the Medical Reserve Corps, which will bring healthcare professionals out of retirement to address critical medical needs. Walz also asked the federal government to provide funding to activate the Minnesota National Guard to combat the pandemic. Finally, the governor issued an executive order banning price gouging, which will prevent sellers from charging severely inflated prices for scarce products such as hand sanitizer.

With regard to the economic consequences of the pandemic, Grove said that the State Unemployment Insurance Program had received over 94,000 applications as of Thursday evening. The previous record for the number of applicants in a single week was 18,000. Roughly 85% of those who applied have never been on unemployment insurance before, Grove said. The state is also exploring ways to assist those who are ineligible for unemployment insurance.

In response to an audience question, Walz stated that shopping-mall closures may be on the horizon. The governor has not implemented a shelter-in-place order in Minnesota, but did not rule out the possibility for the future. As of Saturday, March 21, measures of this type had already been implemented in California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

The post Gov. Walz addresses Minnesotans on COVID-19, state faces supply shortages appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Outdoor burning restricted in Rice County

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 3:40pm
Effective immediately, the Rice County Sheriff has been directed by its Department of Natural Resources regional office to implement burning permit restrictions.
Categories: Local News

“Compliance not enforcement” to save lives says Chief Nelson; Building projects go on; City will not be purchasing park land; Overwhelming response

KYMN Radio - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 3:02pm

By Teri Knight, News Director The Northfield Police Department has been fielding plenty of calls after Governor Walz issued the StayAtHome order set to begin at midnight tonight. Chief Monte Nelson had this for the community, “regardless if it’s a request or a requirement, we all need to remind ourselves of the why, why was

The post “Compliance not enforcement” to save lives says Chief Nelson; Building projects go on; City will not be purchasing park land; Overwhelming response appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Rep. Lippert to hold virtual town hall on 3/28/20 at 10:30am

KYMN Radio - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 2:51pm

I’m excited to let you know that I’m hosting a virtual town hall this Saturday, 3/28 at 10:30am on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RepToddLippert We all have a lot of questions right now: about our health, livelihood, and progress. I hope to be able to help as much as I can as your State Representative.   Please

The post Rep. Lippert to hold virtual town hall on 3/28/20 at 10:30am appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

MN DNR Counties added to spring burn restrictions

KYMN Radio - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 2:41pm

As warmer and drier weather continues to spread throughout the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has added the following counties to the burn restriction list: Carver, Dakota, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Le Sueur, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Scott, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona. The state will not issue burning permits for brush or yard

The post MN DNR Counties added to spring burn restrictions appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

2020 Farm Management Profitability Conference now available online

KYMN Radio - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 2:35pm

2020 Farm Management Profitability Conference now available online LAMBERTON, Minn. – The 2020 Farm Management Probability Conference is now available to view online free of charge. Since the in-person conference had to be canceled, presenters recorded their presentations for interested producers and ag professionals to view from home. To view the recorded conference on your

The post 2020 Farm Management Profitability Conference now available online appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Bringing families, communities together, one front-porch photo at a time

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 11:48am
In a time where their photo sessions and scheduled events are on hold, photographers across the world are taking part in a project widely known as “The Front Steps Project” as a way to bring local communities together during this…
Categories: Local News

News' parent company reduces workforce as state orders shelter in place

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 11:14am
As state and federal officials desperately work to “flatten the curve” and the impact of COVID-19 cases on our health care system, many local businesses have experienced the devastating results of an economy that has ground to a halt.
Categories: Local News

Ellsworth School District – willful disregard

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 11:07am

This is so disturbing to me, I wrote about it before I became speechless — in the Red Wing Republican Eagle:

Letter: Willful disregard and willful ignorance in Pierce County

I’m fuming. I just read with shock and disbelief that there’s a second case of COVID-19 in Pierce County. The cause of my shock and disbelief stems from the article which said that, “band and choir students were in New Orleans March 9-14, which also was spring break. The person attended the senior high school choir trip, according to the message.”

A school trip March 9-14? COVID was in the news in January and February. There were very public self-isolation and social distancing recommendations, including warnings not to travel, the first week of March. Yet the Ellsworth trip went forward the second week of March?

This display of willful ignorance and willful disregard for people’s health, perhaps their lives, is hard to accept. School administrators, trip organizers and the school board are responsible for the health and safety of those in their care. Parents are responsible for their children. The “children” are senior high students, some maybe “adults,” but in any case, old enough to be thinking for themselves. The responsibility for this ill-advised trip is a shared responsibility.

Thinking “it can’t happen here” or “it won’t happen to me”? There is no rational basis for such ideas, and science says otherwise, it can and will happen. Look around. It is happening, it is happening to people you ostensibly care about, and it is happening to the community around you.To go forward on a school trip when there’s a burgeoning pandemic with isolation, distancing, and no-travel recommendations, it is just so irresponsible. It goes beyond poor judgment – it is willful disregard and willful ignorance – selfish “me first” disregard and ignorance that puts people in harm’s way.

Get to work to fix this mess. What are you doing to help your friends and neighbors who are now or who will become sick, for those who are quarantined and unable to care for themselves? It’s time for continuing education in science, situational ethics, critical thinking, and public health for the district officials, staff, and students alike, with a healthy dose of public service.

Carol A. Overland

Red Wing

Categories: Citizens

Local schools gear up for distance learning

Northfield News - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:55am
Local students are gearing up for remote instruction through at least May 4 as the U.S. continues to try to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Categories: Local News

Chief Monte Nelson

KYMN Radio - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 10:09am

Northfield Police Chief Monte Nelson discusses the Governor’s StayAtHome Executive Order, how it affects citizens and businesses, the City’s coronavirus/Covid-19 page,  downtown parking and more!

The post Chief Monte Nelson appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

Rep. Todd Lippert 3-27-20

KYMN Radio - Fri, 03/27/2020 - 9:05am

Rep. Todd Lippert discussed Walz’s executive order and what legislators are doing to pass legislation related to Covid-19

The post Rep. Todd Lippert 3-27-20 appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

My Great-Grandfather the Hottie and Other Treasures

My Musical Family - Joy Riggs - Thu, 03/26/2020 - 8:30pm
I spent a few hours this afternoon cleaning out the bedroom that has served as my office since September, so Sebastian can reclaim it for the rest of the school year. I got sidetracked (no surprise) when I came across a fragile, musty photo album that a second cousin sent me many months ago. It appears to have belonged to my paternal great-grandmother, Islea.

I hadn't spent much time with the album when it arrived at my house because I was deep in revisions to my book at that time. I do remember noticing that few, if any, of the photos in it were labeled, some were in rough shape, and most of the people didn't look familiar to me.
But today, I took my time, and my patience was rewarded. My favorite find — the attention-grabbing hottie photo of G. Oliver and his friend, shown below — was tucked behind another photo and is in excellent shape.
A young G. Oliver Riggs, on the left, with an unnamed friendWhy had it been tucked behind another photo? Who's the friend? The photo is small – not much bigger than a postage stamp – and undated. Could it be from his student years at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music? Another mystery for me to ponder.
I also took the time to look more closely at three of the oldest-looking photos in the book, printed on metal instead of paper. What do you suppose – yes, G. Oliver turns up again in two of them, with his younger sister, Daisy. The third appears to be their father, Jasper. It's likely they were taken in Nebraska, where the family lived for several years when G. Oliver was a schoolboy.
G. Oliver and his sister DaisyDaisy and G. Oliver (who went by Oliver as a boy)
The last photo I'm including here is of Islea. It's the first one that appears in the photo book. On the back of the photo, which was taken at a studio in Galesburg, Illinois, she wrote: "Myself at 14 years of age." The photo isn't in great shape, but I'd recognize her sweet young face anywhere.

Gotta love the back of this portrait! So fancy.
I eventually had to put the album aside so I could get more work done. But I'll go back to it soon and see if I can make any sense out the remaining photos. Minnesota goes under a stay-at-home order beginning at midnight tomorrow, so I should have plenty of time to go on a hunt for more treasures.
Categories: Citizens
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