The city of Mankato has made three announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. City officials say they have closed access to the pedestrian trail on Southview Drive. The city has also closed the playground equipment in the parks, but the parks will be open and residents are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines. City officials say all public buildings remain closed to public access through Friday, April tenth.
The President of Martin Luther College in New Ulm has tested positive for COVID-19. The college said Monday Mark Zarling's symptoms were identified as possible signs of a coronavirus infection and all who were in prolonged contact with him were put on a 14-day quarantine March 24th. The college says President Zarling is being treated at a nearby emergency facility and adds no one else in the quarantine groups has reported symptoms that would necessitate COVID-19 testing.
State educational officials say distance learning doesn't mean Mom and Dad become the teacher. "We are not asking parents and guardians to become the teachers," said Department of Education director Heather Mueller. "That is still the responsibility of our educators. They have spent the last eight days preparing to do this week and to make sure our students have the opportunity to continue to learn." State Department of Education Director Heather Mueller says distance learning will begin today and continue until at least May fourth.
Can a person contract COVID-19 more than once? Kris Ehresman with the Minnesota Department of Health says the thinking is no but there's not enough information to give a definitive answer. "What we don't know is whether or not the virus will remain stable or change," said Ehresman. "For instance, if someone develops measles they have lifetime immunity because the virus is very stable. With COVID-19, we expect individuals that have had it should have some level of protection. The question is will it be like influenza where we have to adapt vaccines from year-to-year." State health officials say 220 of [...]
Earlier this week, the Minnesota legislature passed a nearly 330 million-appropriation bill to help fund the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. State Senator Rich Draheim of Madison Lake says it likely won't be the last coronavirus-related appropriation to go before lawmakers. "I guarantee that there will be another bill with some more appropriations in a week or two," said Draheim. "For example, MRCI in Mankato, they're paid when they perform a task. So if they're not out in public they're not receiving the revenue they need to stay open so that's an issue we need to address." This week's bill [...]
Distance learning will begin Monday in Minnesota schools. "Our educators are ready for this," said Heather Mueller, the director of the State Department of Education. "As educators, we have been trained to be experts in our content as well as delivering instruction through a variety of platforms." Mueller says it will be an adjustment for many "The implementation of this is not going to be seemless for everyone and we recognize that," said Mueller. "But we recognize it is better than doing nothing." Governor Walz's executive order closed schools two weeks ago. Walz said last week distance learning will continue until [...]
The COVID-19 pandemic is starting to hit Minnesota's long-term care facilities. Kris Ehresman is an infectious disease specialist with the Minnesota Department of Public Health. "Three of our four deaths were individuals who resided in those settings and 17 congregate-care facilities have had at least one case," said Ehresman. Ehresman says her department has developed a process with the state's congregate care centers. "We had an epidemiologic team that immediately contacts the facility when a case is confirmed," said Ehresman. "We review the potential exposures from the case and we make recommendations to limit transmissions." She adds the state has had [...]
The Community Response Fund has awarded its first grants to help non-profit organizations in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grants have been given to Beyond Brink for emergency temporary housing with supportive services, Connections Ministry for the Connections Shelter-COVID plan, Feeding Our Communities Partners for hunger relief for food-insecure youth, Lutheran Social Services for LSS Meals, Maple River Loaves and Fishes Food Shelf for help with supplies to provide clients with food and the Waseca Area Neighborhood Service Center for food shelf funds. The Community Response Fund is a joint effort between the Greater Mankato Area United Way and the Mankato [...]
Some tragic news related to COVID-19 in the state of Minnesota Friday. "We had two more deaths bringing our total to four," said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. "We now have 398 positive cases in the state. 60 of those have required hospitalization and 17 are in ICU beds." Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says both individuals were in their 80s and were residents of long term care facilities.
Minnesota DEED Stays Despite A Substantial Increase in Unemployment Claims, There Are Industries That Are Hiring
While there's been a substantial increase in unemployment filings after many businesses have been closed by the state, there are industries that are hiring. "Some of the top job vacancies we're seeing right now are in health care, transportation and material moving, sales and grocery clerks and office administration and computer industries," said Steve Grove, director of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development." Grove with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says more people filed unemployment last week than filed in all of 2019