COVID-19 Latest News CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST FROM THE MINNESOTA DEPT, OF HEALTH 3/23/2020 5am ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota health officials say the state now has 169 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. The latest figure Sunday morning is up 32 from a day earlier. So far the state has recorded one death, a Ramsey County person in their 80s who had underlying medical conditions. Gov. Tim Walz has activated the National Guard to move personal protective equipment from Camp Ripley to a state warehouse in St. Paul. Many hospitals and medical workers have complained about a shortage of such gear. 3/21/2020 Noon St. Paul, MN) – Minnesota has suffered its first death due to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed Saturday. A Ramsey County resident in their 80’s passed away on Thursday, according to a release. The deceased had recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was the contact of an earlier confirmed case. Meanwhile, MDH reported on Saturday that the number of of confirmed cases in the state had risen to 138, compared to 115 cases on Friday. More than 4,000 people have been tested so far, according to MDH. Three cases of the virus have been confirmed in Blue Earth County, and two in Nicollet County. MDH reports five confirmed cases in Martin County, where there has been evidence of community spread. MDH also reports cases in the following counties: Waseca, Steele, Dodge, Mower, Renville, Rice, Filmore, Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Clay, Dakota, Hennepin, Jackson, Olmsted, Ramsey, Stearns, St. Louis, Wabasha, Washington, and Wright. Gov Tim Walz and his Lt Gov Peggy Flanagan offered condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said the death emphasizes the importance of all Minnesotas doing their part to slow the spread of the virus and protect those at a higher risk. Anyone over 65 or those with underlying health conditions is more vulnerable to the virus. 3/20/2020 Noon MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz says he might have to follow California’s lead at some point and order residents to shelter in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. The governor told WCCO Radio he certainly thinks it’s a possibility. He says experts are working to determine what steps are needed in Minnesota, and that he needs “every tool in the toolbox.” The governor spoke shortly before Minnesota’s confirmed cases soared to 115 as of Friday. But health officials caution that the real number is much higher because many people who get sick don’t qualify for testing. 3/20/2020 7am (Mankato, MN) – With businesses closed due to the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, many Minnesotans find themselves without work and no way to pay for medical care. MNsure says Minnesotans have options if they are experiencing a change in income or employment. Minnesotans who have lost health coverage from their employer – including through job loss – could qualify for a special enrollment period. A list of qualifying events is online. Minnesotans with private health insurance through MNsure who have decreased income, reduction of hours, or job loss could be eligible for advanced premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions. If you report a change of income, and ae eligible for these tax credits, you could qualify to change plans in a special enrollment period. 3/19/2020 11:58am (St. Paul, MN) – The Minnesota Department of Health reports the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since its update Wednesday. There are 89 positive cases of COVID-19 as of March 19, 2020. Approximately 3,038 have been tested, according to numbers released by MDH. Cases have been reported in Blue Earth, Nicollet, Waseca, Rice, Renville, Martin, Mower, Anoka, Benton, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Scott, Stearns, Washington, and Wright counties. 3/18/2020 6:10pm (Mankato, MN) – The Mankato Clinic has closed its drive-thru COVID-19 testing location on a recommendation by the Minnesota Department of Health. The clinic announced the decision Wednesday afternoon. “MDH recommends discontinuing testing to prioritize healthcare resources to meet the needs of critically ill patients,” said a press release. In response to the global pandemic, Mankato Clinic said it would designate the North Mankato Clinic as a Respiratory Clinic. Patients who have been screened through the clinic’s hotline at (507) 389-8548 will receive instructions on how to receive care at Mankato Clinic if medical care is necessary. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or diarrhea are also common. Symptoms could appear 2-14 days after exposure. “If symptoms are mild, we encourage you to treat yourself at home,” Dr. Andrew Lundquist, Mankato Clinic Chief Medical Officer, said. “We understand that people may require medical attention. Rest assured, we are here to care for people who need care for this virus.” 3/18/2020 12:09pm (St. Peter, MN) – Two cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Nicollet County, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. The two residents were asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days from their exposure and will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. MDH will investigate and identify anyone who was potentially exposed to those who tested positive. There are 77 cases in Minnesota as of Wednesday, March 18, according to MDH. Two people also tested positive to coronavirus in Martin County. There is also one reported case in Blue Earth County, and another in Waseca County. 3/18/2020 6:38am (Mankato, MN) – The Mankato City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday that provides up to $1 million to fund emergency management operations. In a special meeting with members attending by phone, the council unanimously approved funding up to $1 million in potential costs that could incur as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses. The money would be allocated from the unspent general fund from previous years. The ordinance also gives the city manager authority to close facilities and cancel events and meetings, while also authorizing law enforcement to enforce executive orders that bars and restaurants be closed expect for takeout and delivery. 3/17/2020 5:48pm (Mankato, MN) – Blue Earth County has declared a state of emergency in response to growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. The declaration was signed Tuesday by Blue Earth County Board of Commissioner Chair Vance Stuehrenberg “to protect the health and welfare of county residents during the national public health emergency,” according to a release from Blue Earth County. The declaration cites that efforts must be taken to reduce the impact of the virus within the county, and directs the county administrator and emergency management director to coordinate activities, and request local, state, and/or federal assistance as needed to protect lives and property, both public and private. Additionally, it directs the recovery of Blue Earth County from the impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency declaration will be presented to the full board at a special meeting of the Board of Commissioners Wednesday, March 18 at 1 p.m. for consideration of ratification. The meeting will be held in the Board Room in the Historic Courthouse at 204 S 5th St in Mankato. 3/17/2020 8:48am (Mankato, MN) – The City of Mankato is implementing a number of safety measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mankato has made changes to public building access, according to an update Monday from City Manager Pat Hentges. The Civic Center, including the public walk-through, has been closed. The Intergovernmental Center in the Civic Center Plaza, and Mankato Public Safety on Front Street is restricted for public access starting Tuesday. Utility bills can be paid online, or by phone at 833-245-1941. Utility payments can also be made by mail to the Intergovernmental Center, or by using the dropbox at the Civic Center Plaza location. According to Hentges’ update, water service will not be disconnected for any city of Mankato customers until further notice. Anyone having difficulty paying a bill should contact staff at 311. The city has also implemented the following changes: Parks and facilities – Reservations at city park shelter, facilities, or campgrounds will be cancelled until further notice. Deposit refunds will be provided once the city is operating at full capacity. Park restrooms are closed. Building permit and zoning applications – Plans may be submitted electronically (flash drive or CD) in the Intergovernmental Center dropbox. Payments can be made by phone by calling 311. Building inspections can be scheduled by calling 311. Public housing information for existing tenants – Orness Plaza offices will be closed until further notice. Housing briefings and tenant recertifications will be done over the phone with assigned housing specialists. Staff will be available by phone or email. Rental payments can be submitted in the Intergovernmental Center dropbox. Mankato City Council meeting – The council will hold an emergency online meeting Tuesday, March 17 at 4 p.m. to enact local emergency ordinances that reinforce state executive orders. Payment information – The city is looking for ways to provide relief to businesses, individuals, and others as the situation evolves. Payroll services to employees and payment to vendors will move forward. 3/16/2020 12:50pm (Mankato, MN) – The first positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Blue Earth County by the Minnesota Department of Health. Details on the case are not yet available. There are 54 cases in 13 Minnesota counties as of Monday. Waseca County reported its first case on Sunday; a person in their 40’s who had recently traveled. On Saturday, a case was reported in Renville County that was a person in their 30’s who had also traveled. 3/16/2020 9:20am (Mankato, MN) – Mankato Clinic has opened a drive-thru testing location that will be available to people who first undergo a phone screening. A press release sent Monday morning says the healthcare provider has established a COVID-19 hotline for those who are experiencing symptoms associated with the disease. Symptoms include a cough, fever, and/or difficulty breathing. Anyone concerned that they are infected should call the hotline at (507) 387-8548 prior to coming to the clinic. A Mankato Clinic nurse will guide the caller through the COVID-19 screening process. If testing criteria are met, the call will be directed to a drive-thru location. Using the drive-thru will not be permitted unless a phone screening has been completed by a nurse.