Covid19 News

Latest on COVID-19 in Minnesota: Testing criteria tightened, case count at 60

Updated: 6:59 a.m. | Posted: 6 a.m.

In Minnesota, the count of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise. On Tuesday, the state Health Department confirmed 60 cases, up from 54 the day before and said that, for the first time, the total includes some health care workers.

Overall, more than 2,300 people have been tested for the new coronavirus in Minnesota.

  • Tuesday: Restaurants, bars, gyms and other places where people gather closed or altered their businesses as of 5 p.m. The state issued stricter parameters for which patients should be tested for coronavirus. More

  • Wednesday: Classes resume at the University of Minnesota — but online. At 11 a.m. MPR News’ Kerri Miller will talk about the ways Americans’ views have changed as the spread of the new coronavirus has increased across the globe. The Minnesota Department of Health will update its count of confirmed cases by noon; and at 1 p.m. MDH will hold its daily COVID-19 briefing.

  • Thursday: The National Weather Service will issue an update on the status of spring flooding in the Red River Valley and Minnesota’s other flood-prone regions. Local officials along Minnesota’s border with North Dakota are working to prepare for the annual flooding season while following social distancing guidelines.

The story of the virus’ spread in Minnesota continues to develop rapidly.

In just one day, the state tightened its criteria for COVID-19 testing, limiting it to the most critical cases; allocated millions of dollars in emergency funding to address the pandemic; and opened its unemployment benefits to workers whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic.

In the meantime, communities and industries continue to adjust to the new collective reality of fighting the spread of the disease:

County attorneys are considering releasing some jail detainees.

Dentists are responding to emergencies only.

Public safety officials are asking COVID-19 patients to call 911 for help only if their virus symptoms are acute.

Hospitals are preparing for a possible surge in cases.

The Mall of America is temporarily closing.

Children sit around tables.

Children sit around tables at the St. Paul Midway YMCA Early Childhood Learning Center.

Courtesy of the YMCA

Many MN child care centers remain open, putting parents and workers in tough spot: The state has encouraged day care centers and preschools to keep looking after young ones, but owners say they need more support.

Minnesota tightens criteria for COVID-19 testing: State health officials Tuesday said the move will allow them to focus on highest-priority patients: Health care workers, patients already being hospitalized and those who live in what the department calls “congregate living” situations, such as long-term care facilities or nursing homes.

As health care workers prepare for COVID-19, medical students pitch in on the home front: The University of Minnesota medical students may be too early in their education to have the kind of clinical experience needed to treat patients, but they’re stepping up to help doctors and nurses with everything from babysitting to grocery shopping. “We also are hungry to help,” said one U of M student who has been organizing volunteer shifts for babysitting, dog-walking, and grocery shopping. “This is what we signed up for.”

Governor signs emergency funding bill: Minnesota lawmakers took swift action and unanimous votes early Tuesday to direct $200 million toward a health care response fund aimed at helping front-line workers respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A woman putting food in a bag in a warehouse.

Bethune Community School kindergarten teacher Greta Callahan helps pack bags of food for children at Sheridan Story on Sunday. About 15 members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers volunteered at the food program aimed at feeding kids when school lunches are not available.

Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

From closures to cancellations to aid for those who have lost their jobs, here’s a look at what’s happening around Minnesota:

Bethesda Hospital to specialize in coronavirus care

M Health Fairview is converting a long-term care hospital in St. Paul into a facility to care for COVID-19 patients.

Bethesda Hospital is just north of the State Capitol and dates back to the 1880s. It has most recently been a long-term, acute care hospital with about 90 beds, although M Heath Fairview had been planning to cut that number as a cost saving measure.

The health system says now, rather than cutting beds, it will transfer its existing patients to other facilities and reconfigure Bethesda to serve as a care site for acutely ill COVID-19 patients. The hospital will have 35 beds assigned to intensive care patients and 55 medical-surgical beds.

The move will allow the hospital to establish medical teams to treat patients acutely ill with the coronavirus, using ventilators and specialized care — and possibly prevent some secondary infections in other care settings.

— Tim Nelson | MPR News

Retailers shift hours, limit number of customers in stores

Some major retailers…

Source Website Latest on COVID-19 in Minnesota: Testing criteria tightened, case count at 60

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