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Sen. Housley calls for transparency on long-term care COVID cases

By |2020-04-03T06:28:44-05:00April 3rd, 2020|

Republican State Senator Karin Housley of St. Marys Point is calling on Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health officials to disclose the names or locations of long-term care facilities where residents or staff have tested positive for COVID-19. "So people in Minnesota can know and have this information because the more information we have, the more comfortable we are, the less we have, the more anxiety it causes." Housley says she respects the privacy of long-term care residents but feels transparency is key during the COVID-19 pandemic. Housley says withholding this information only brings unnecessary grief and frustration to [...]

Walz calls for medical equipment production “like we built tanks in World War Two”

By |2020-04-03T06:47:50-05:00April 3rd, 2020|

It's expected Governor Tim Walz will unveil an Internet "dashboard" today (Fri) that lets Minnesotans see how long current stockpiles of masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment will last -- updated when new inventory comes into the system. Walz warns that stockpiles are "not nearly as robust as they need to be" for the coming peak in COVID-19 cases: "We have got to do better. We have got to ramp up production.... We need a focus like we built tanks in World War Two to build these things, and they need to be done now." The governor is also talking [...]

Should MNs wear face masks in public?

By |2020-04-03T06:37:15-05:00April 3rd, 2020|

The Trump administration is reportedly formalizing recommendations that Americans wear face masks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, particularly in areas hard-hit by community transmission.   We asked Governor Tim Walz, should Minnesotans wear masks in public? "At this point in time I don't think there's a definitive answer on that, and to be very honest, we need especially those N-95 masks for those that are most at-risk as the (medical) providers." Medical personnel are pleading for more protective equipment and the governor says it's a top priority. As for wearing face masks in public, some warn it [...]

Social distancing and mental health

By |2020-04-02T06:58:00-05:00April 2nd, 2020|

As we continue to social distance, isolation and loneliness can affect people's emotional health, especially older adults. Mayo Clinic Dr. Beth Rush says social interaction and emotional health are intertwined, and during this time when social interaction can't be something that everyone can do, we have to look for alternatives: "Consider writing a letter, sending gifts and gift certificates to online retailers to friends and family," says Dr. Rush. "Even helping them try to use something like FaceTime or Skype, which may or may not work, depending on whether or not they have any cognitive impairment." Rush says by helping others, [...]

Remote resources available for Alzheimer’s patients/caregivers

By |2020-04-02T06:01:45-05:00April 2nd, 2020|

The Alzheimers Association of Minnesota says it's important for all of us to keep our brains active while dealing with a statewide stay at home order. "So as people are at home and wanting to learn more about either how to stay healthy, in regards to keeping their brain healthy, or if they want to learn more about how to be a better care provider for people with dementia we've got some virtual classes that are free and live." Spokeswoman Leah Chalberg says currently there are 144 caregiver support groups in Minnesota and at least 31 have moved online amid the [...]

Republicans want out-of-state medical personnel authorized to work in MN

By |2020-04-02T13:21:30-05:00April 2nd, 2020|

Republicans are asking Governor Tim Walz to invoke emergency powers that would allow health care professionals licensed in other states to be immediately eligible to work in Minnesota facilities. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka says the state needs to give hospitals the necessary flexibility to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Walz responds: "If there's a need for health care personnel... and if there are people clamoring to come here to provide that and we can do it safely, I'm certainly open to look it, but... that is not a request that has been made by anybody in the medical field [...]

COVID-19 patient volunteers needed in two studies

By |2020-04-01T12:47:35-05:00April 1st, 2020|

A U of M doctor is calling on people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are showing early symptoms of infection to participate in two of the first trials of the malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients. Dr. David Boulware: "And the question is can we give this preventive medicine to Hydroxychloroquine -- can we give that to them to prevent them from actually get sick and break the chain of infection." The first trial will be comprised primarily of healthcare workers and others with a high risk of exposure to the virus, while the second will be open [...]

State lawmakers propose stimulus package for renters impacted by COVID-19

By |2020-04-01T12:43:12-05:00April 1st, 2020|

State House lawmakers are proposing a $100 million stimulus package to help Minnesotans impacted by job losses during COVID-19 cover their rent. Governor Tim Walz has put in place an executive order suspending evictions during the pandemic, but renters still need to pay their rent. "Ultimately Minnesotans can't stay home and stay safe if they can't afford the roof over their heads, that's why we need to show urgency to pass housing assistance for Minnesotans and to do so very quickly." Representative Mike Howard of Richfield says conversations have begun with members in the state Senate. Lawmakers plan to discuss the [...]

State has 5 overflow hospital sites validated so far, 600 beds

By |2020-04-01T12:41:03-05:00April 1st, 2020|

State officials say so far they've validated five potential sites that could accommodate just over 600 beds, if Minnesota's regular hospitals are overloaded by the coming peak in COVID-19 cases. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly: "Our goal is to identify space for 2750 beds -- that's a thousand in the metro and 250 in each of seven regions around the state." Kelly stresses that would be in addition to extra capacity that hospitals are currently setting up on site. He says validated facilities would be converted to temporary hospitals when and where they are needed. "Our goal and [...]

Walz to GOP leader: Will not shut down hotline to report stay-at-home order violations

By |2020-04-01T06:49:58-05:00April 1st, 2020|

Governor Tim Walz is rejecting a call by Senate Republican Majority Leader Paul Gazelka to take down a hotline that allows people to report violations of the governor's stay-at-home order: "We're not gonna take down a telephone number that allows people just to try and keep their neighbors safe." Walz says it's an educational function, if people see someone who isn't informed about the stay-at-home order. Gazelka says the hotline is "not necessary and it's not how Minnesotans want to treat each other. We can all show a bit of kindness to our neighbors as we manage our times and needs [...]