Thanksgiving is going to look different for many Minnesotans this year as COVID cases continue to surge. State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm has this reminder: "As tempting as it is to just stick with our cherished traditions this year, we really need people to reconsider and frankly not gather with other households, especially if those households include people in a high-risk category for severe illness." Minnesotans are being asked to limit their Thanksgiving to individual households.
State officials are asking Congress for additional funding to help Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. DEED Commissioner Steve Grove: "It is critical that Washington acts. We are in crisis and the fact that we no longer have that same safety net we did when the first shutdowns happened across the country...we don't have any stimulus for small businesses, for state and local governments. It's a very real issue." Current Federal CARES Act funding is set to expire at the end of December.
Leaders of top hospital systems in the state are imploring Minnesotans to wear masks, social-distance and follow new COVID restrictions that Governor Tim Walz announced last night (Wed). Doctor Penny Wheeler with Allina at an afternoon (Thurs) news conference with the governor said: "We're up here today because we are perilously close to not being able to -- even collectively with all of our best efforts... -- take care of everybody that we need to take care of in this state." CentraCare says 12-hundred staff in rural Minnesota are either out with COVID, on quarantine or taking care of family members. [...]
The 12th-annual "Give to the Max" Day was another success for non-profits and schools around the state. Thursday's 24-hour online campaign raised over 30 million dollars, a new record. Give M-N Executive Director Jake Blumberg: "Every year we are just blown away by the generosity of donors not just across every county in the state of Minnesota but every state and thousands of countries worldwide to support Minnesota causes." Blumberg thanks all donors and volunteers who participated in yesterday's "Give to the Max Day."
Top hospital officials are pleading with Minnesotans to mask-up, social-distance and follow new COVID restrictions, saying medical centers across the state are "perilously close" to overload from the raging pandemic. Doctor Cindy Firkins Smith with Carris Health in Willmar says CentraCare has 12-hundred staff in rural Minnesota sidelined by COVID: "As to the question of, when will we run out of workers? Don't know. I don't know, and that is why we're here today." Allina and Mayo report workers out-of-commission due to COVID approaching one-thousand in each of those systems. Firkins Smith says CentraCare is asking workers to pick up extra [...]
Minnesota is getting 25 staffed ambulances from the federal government to help hospitals transfer some non-critical patients elsewhere to make room for those who need critical care. It's because Minnesota-based ambulance companies warn they could soon run out of capacity due to rising COVID cases, according to the state Health Department. Allina C-E-O Penny Wheeler warns hospitals are "perilously close" to COVID overload: "There is nothing worse as a care provider than to think that you can't adequately care for somebody in front of you who needs your services -- and we're getting to that point." Allina, Mayo and CentraCare Allina [...]
With COVID-19 cases surging and the holidays approaching, the Minnesota Grocers Association (MGA) is asking consumers to shop smart. "You know what I think is so important, front and center for all of our customers and neighbors to know is that they need to be calm and mindful that there will be groceries and supply chain will get us through this." MGA President Jamie Pfuhl is urging consumers not to overbuy.
Minnesota's unemployment rate fell to 4.6 in October. DEED Commissioner Steve Grove says the drop was entirely due to labor force participation declines. He says the number of unemployed workers in Minnesota fell to 137,359 in October: "One of the reasons it is challenging is because there are a lot of folks hiring out there. We continue to see a lot of hiring in our market. Manufacturers, health care, personal care aides. So we really do hope that Minnesotans go out there and seek jobs right now because we need workers in our economy and there is a lot of shortages [...]
Governor Tim Walz admits his restrictions for bars, restaurants and other businesses is "unfair"--but says it's necessary to help combat the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota. Hospitality Minnesota CEO Liz Rammer says... "This is a huge, devastating move for our industry and all of this is intertwined in a very robust ecosystem under good times, but right now a lot of these businesses are being pushed really over the cliff." Rammer is calling for immediate financial assistance from the state and says without it, many businesses may not be here in four weeks when the restrictions are set to be lifted.
Several medical professionals held a news conference in Willmar today asking the public to take COVID-19 restrictions seriously. Dr. Fred Hund is Chief of Staff at Carris Rice Hospital in Willmar and said this is not going away any time "There is a very real chance that you or someone you know is going to get this, is going to get sick, and there is a very real chance they may not be able to get the care they need." As Hund and other officials closely monitor hospital capacity, as of today Minnesota Department of Health numbers show that less than [...]