Coronavirus Local

Wed
18
Mar
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Walz temporarily closes bars, restaurants, gyms

The governor also announced a measure to help hospitality, entertainment and restaurant workers whose jobs will be affected

MPR News Staff
Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday that the state will temporarily close bars, restaurants and other venues that serve dine-in guests — and introduced a measure to help employees of those businesses — in the state’s ongoing effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

The governor’s latest executive order requires bars, restaurants, gyms, coffee shops, bowling alleys,breweries and other venues to close to dine-in guests as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. It extends until Friday, March 27, at 5 p.m. — but Walz said it’s likely that this is just the beginning.
“I don’t see a situation … where there wouldn’t be an extension on these dates,” he said.

The measure allows businesses to continue takeout and delivery services. It does not cover grocery stores, convenience stores or pharmacies, the governor said.

Tue
17
Mar
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Swift County Government Offices

BENSON, M.N.  During this Health Pandemic, the Swift County Government is asking residents with non-essential services to postpone any visits to county offices. For those of you who need assistance or who need to conduct business, please contact us via email at in

Tue
17
Mar
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Visiting limited at Scandi Haven and SCBHS

Swift County-Benson Health Services, managed by CentraCare and Carris Health, is no longer allowing visitors at the hospital or Scandi Haven Village. Scandi Haven provides senior housing and has a memory care unit.

 “After careful consideration, we made this difficult choice because our top priority must be the safety of our patients, staff and communities,” CentraCare Health of St. Cloud stated in a press release.

“To protect our patients, families and health care workers during the outbreak of COVID-19, CentraCare and Carris Health will be implementing temporary visitor restrictions to all CentraCare and Carris Health facilities.”

SCBHS is asking that anyone with a fever, cough and shortness of breath, symptoms of COVID-19, call ahead to the clinic or hospital to let them know they are coming in. They do not want a potentially infected person walking into the emergency room or clinic where the virus could spread to medical staff and other patients.

Tue
17
Mar
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MDH issues updated guidance on COVID-19 testing criteria

Limited supply of testing materials means testing must be focused more tightly

Tue
17
Mar
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Staying on top of COVID-19 for you

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

With the rapid spread of the coronavirus and more people becoming sick with COVID-19 the impacts on our communities are being felt more deeply by the day. At times, it seems the changes come hourly.

To keep our readers up-to-date with the fast pace of the news about COVID-19, we will be updating the swiftcountymonitor-news website with new information as soon as we get it.

News will be fragmented from multiple sources in the coming days. We will do our best to draw them all together for you to give you a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges we face and how they are being met.

We will also give you the links to the federal, state and local health authorities that can provide you detailed information on how to stay safe and what you can do to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Tue
17
Mar
Mon
16
Mar
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Chamber Chili Feed Canceled

Monday, March 16, 2020.  Jason Hausauer, president of the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce, announced today that the Annual Chili Feed event scheduled for this Saturday, March 21 has been canceled. 

Support your local businesses and stay local.

Wed
11
Mar
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Countryside reaches out to communities to prepare them to deal with coronavirus

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Editor’s note: This story is written with information from the Swift County Board of Commissioners March 3 meeting and from Minnesota Public Radio.

Countryside Public Health is reaching out to schools, local governments, emergency management teams, human services agencies and health care providers throughout its five-county area as concern about the spread of the coronavirus grows.

Countryside provides public health services to residents of Swift, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, Lac qui Parle and Big Stone counties. It will be at the forefront of a coronavirus outbreak should the area start seeing cases.

That outreach takes on new urgency as Minnesota sees its first two cases of Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Wed
11
Mar
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Is Our Reaction To Coronavirus Overblown?

During the 2017-2018 flu season, more than 61,000 people died in the United States – that is an average of 167 every day for 365 days. Few of our readers will remember any screaming headlines or endless television coverage of the flu season a couple years ago. There weren’t that many.

With each passing day the numbers of deaths attributed to the coronavirus is rising in the U.S. As of Monday morning, it was 27. The total number of cases was rapdily climbing toward 800. Sunday night a second case of the virus was confirmed in Minnesota.

If this virus is so much less deadly and pervasive than the seasonal flu, why so much hype about it? Why are public health agencies in full mobilization mode? Why are people being quarantined? Why has the reaction been so over-the-top that it is tanking the U.S. and world economies, with economists now saying there is a good chance of a recession ahead?

Wed
04
Mar
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Coronavirus Is Coming Here - Are We Ready?

By Reed Anfinson
Publisher
Swift County Monitor-News

Just as 2019 was ending, Chinese authorities reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) that a potentially new virus was circulating in the city of Wuhan. It was a respiratory virus causing pneumonia-like symptoms – congestion, shortness of breath and fever.

The next day, Jan. 1, the suspected source of the infections, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, was closed. The fresh meat market was a place where animals and humans were in close contact with each other. Such markets have been the source of past viral disease outbreaks.
One week later on Jan. 7 Chinese authorities confirmed a new, or novel, coronavirus was infecting people in Wuhan and four days later, Jan, 11, it reported the first death from what is now labeled Covid-19.

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