SEOC UPDATE #24: PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS STILL CRITICAL TO BATTLING COVID-19 IN MINNESOTA

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State officials continue working with private partners and business officials to obtain personal protective equipment, increase COVID-19 testing capacity, and keep Minnesotans safe. That work includes monitoring outbreaks at congregate care settings and businesses.  

 

Health officials working with pork processing facility 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has been following developments in Worthington, in particular at the JBS pork processing facility.

·       77 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nobles County as of Monday morning.  

    • 33 are employees of JBS, six are family members of employees.

·       MDH worked over the weekend with local public health agencies and regional health care partners to share information with workers, their families and the community.

·       MDH staff are working to help make sure everyone at the plant is tested.

·       MDH will continue discussions with officials on how the plant will resume operations safely.
 

State issues new COVID-19 safety and health guidance for meatpacking industry

  • The state of Minnesota has issued new guidance for the meatpacking industry while the state deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. The new guidance, issued by the Departments of Labor and Industry, Health, and Agriculture, will help protect worker safety and keep meatpacking plants and processing facilities open.
  • The guidelines will ensure the meatpacking sector complies with MDH and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MNOSHA) standards related to COVID-19.
  • The state is also asking meatpacking employers’ assistance to assess the spread in Minnesota. The state has requested information from employers about the numbers of employees who have tested positive for the virus along with other COVID-19 related spread information.

 

State officials supporting Nobles County

The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) remains fully activated and staffed either physically or virtually by all state agencies and several volunteer organizations.

  • The SEOC is working to stand up testing in Nobles County. The focus is on a pork producing plant in Worthington that has seen cases of COVID-19.
  • The SEOC supported the relocation of long-term care facility residents in Wayzata over the weekend.
  • SEOC officials continue to monitor the weather across Minnesota.
    • High water levels in the Red River basin continue to drop.
    • The National Guard ended its flood-related mission in Oslo over the weekend.
    • High wind gusts and low humidity levels led to a Red Flag Warning today for wildfires.
  • The SEOC continues to support the state hotline. The hotline received 126 calls on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call volume was down considerably over the weekend. State employees are staffing the hotline and are answering calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at either 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504.  
     

More than 1,200 COVID-19 patients in Minnesota have been released from isolation

  • 2,470 lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota — an increase of 114 cases since April 19.  
  • 143 reported deaths — an increase of nine deaths from April 19. Eight of the nine deaths were residents in long-term care facilities. 
  • 237 patients are currently hospitalized with 126 in intensive care.
  • 1,202 patients have been released from isolation.
  • Learn more about the latest lab-diagnosed cases on the COVID-19 public dashboard.

 

New legislation extends expiration dates of commercial driver’s licenses

New legislation allows the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) to make changes to help current and prospective commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders.

·       The expiration date for any commercial driver’s license (CDL), waivers and medical certificates that expire during the peacetime emergency is extended for 60 days after the month the peacetime emergency ends but not beyond the federal extension date, June 30.

·       The 30-day grace period limit for new-to-Minnesota CDL holders is waived so they can continue to use their CDL during the peacetime emergency.

·       Eligible Minnesotans can apply for a first-time seasonal farm commercial driver’s license (CDL) online at drive.mn.gov while DVS exam stations and driver’s license agent offices are closed due to COVID-19.

·       More details are available on the DVS COVID-19 FAQ webpage.

 

Red Cross in Minnesota: Responding in COVID-19 pandemic environment

  • Through sponsored blood drives with partners, the Red Cross is supplying blood products for patients in need of transfusions, including those who need surgery, cancer treatments, or trauma victims, in hospitals across Minnesota and the country. Schedule appointments at redcrossblood.org. 
  • The Red Cross is coordinating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and blood industry partners, including the Mayo Clinic, to collect plasma from individuals who are fully recovered from COVID-19 to help with treatment for the most seriously ill patients.
  • With response partners, the Red Cross is helping families after disasters of all sizes, mostly home fires in Minnesota, by making sure people have a safe place to stay and food to eat as well as health and mental health support as they rebuild their lives. 
  • Essential health and safety courses are ongoing with resuscitation, CPR and first aid training, which is helping medical professionals and other workers stay current on their certifications in providing lifesaving aid during emergencies. 
  • The Red Cross is supporting Minnesota’s military families with emergency communication messages and “Coping with Deployments” online workshops. We’re also launching an interactive stress-management workshop to provide encouragement and coping skills for military families in this pandemic environment.

 

Nearly 50 assisted living facility residents relocated after staff become ill

MDH staff worked closely over the weekend with Meridian Manor, an assisted living facility in Wayzata, to relocate 46 residents to other facilities.

·       Residents were relocated either to other assisted living facilities or with their families. Seven residents were transferred to nearby hospitals to receive care.

·       The relocations were not due to resident illnesses but became necessary to ensure patient safety and care after a majority of staff became ill and unable to provide care. 

·       Family members of the residents have been informed of the situation, and MDH will continue to work with all affected residents, families and facility personnel to ensure that the residents’ needs are met and that the facility reopens in a safe way when that is feasible.

·       MDH continues to focus on working with congregate living settings such as assisted living facilities to ensure that infection prevention measures and other protective practices are in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections spreading among the residents, who are often at higher risk of severe illness.

 

Off-site alcohol sales approved by legislature

​Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law on Friday allowing establishments with liquor on-site sale licenses to sell beer and wine with takeout orders. Under the new law signed:

  • Licensed restaurant establishments can sell the equivalent of a six-pack of beer or a standard bottle of wine without acquiring an off-sale license.
  • The alcohol must be sold with a to-go order.
  • The alcohol must be in its original, unopened container or bottle. 
  • The person picking up the order must age 21 or older.
  • Food deliveries still can’t include alcohol.
  • Communities can opt-out of allowing beer or wine to-go orders. 
  • The law will expire when the executive order closing establishments expires. 

 

Golf course alcohol sale rules outlined

​A golf course is an outdoor extension of the clubhouse. Any course with an on-sale liquor license only will need to follow the law recently signed by Gov. Walz. It states that alcohol sales can only be accompanied with the sale of food for take-out orders only, and under the law, the customer needs to pick up the order at the restaurant. It can’t be delivered via golf cart, Uber or other delivery services. No more than a six-pack of beer or a single bottle of wine could be sold.  

 

Statewide weekend traffic volumes remain well below last year’s April numbers

The Minnesota Department of Transportation continues to monitor traffic volumes statewide.

  • Metro area
    • Traffic volumes on Saturday, April 18, were down 31 percent compared to Saturday averages for April 2019.
    • Traffic volumes on Sunday, April 19, were down 36 percent compared to Sunday averages for April 2019.
  • Statewide
    • Traffic volumes on Saturday, April 18, were down 33 percent compared to Saturday averages for April 2019.
    • Traffic volumes on Sunday, April 19, were down 39 percent compared to Sunday averages for April 2019.
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