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More than 10,000 Minnesota health care workers have applied for unemployment in last 10 days

Plus: nurses at M Health Fairview have “no confidence” in hospital management’s coronavirus response; canceled blood drives cause big blood shortages in Minnesota; Minneapolis liquor stores see steady business amid pandemic; and more.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Not all health care workers are the same. The Star Tribune’s Joe Carlson and Brooks Johnson report: “More than 10,000 Minnesota health care workers have applied for unemployment assistance in the last 10 days, more than quadruple the number who applied for the financial assistance in all of last year. … The state’s health care system prepares to ramp up to peak capacity in coming weeks as 15% of people who contract COVID-19 end up in the hospital and 5% require intensive care. Yet the order from Gov. Tim Walz indefinitely postponing all nonessential or elective surgeries and procedures as of Monday has reduced the revenue available to pay for care at peak levels. … The result is widespread layoffs and reduced hours for health care workers who were deemed essential to ‘critical’ services just Wednesday, when Walz exempted them from his statewide stay-at-home order. ”

Not good. KMSP reports:M Health Fairview nurses belonging to the Minnesota Nurses Association held a vote to show they have ‘no confidence’ in hospital management’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. … Nurses who took part in the vote work at University of Minnesota Medical Center-West Bank, Fairview Southdale, St. Joseph’s, St. John’s, and Bethesda hospitals.”

Blood needed. The Star Tribune’s Glenn Howatt reports:The closure of schools and many businesses has meant the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives, putting pressure on the region’s blood banks. … ‘This is unprecedented in the history of the Red Cross,’ said Carrie Carlson-Guest of the American Red Cross Minnesota Region. … Since the arrival of COVID-19, 295 Red Cross blood drives in Minnesota and the Dakotas have been canceled, resulting in an estimated loss of 9,800 donors.”

Stocking up on the essentials. The Southwest Journal’s Andrew Hazzard reports: “While many businesses have shuttered or slowed down as the coronavirus has spread across the nation, it’s been a different story for liquor stores as Minneapolitans have rushed to stock up on beer, wine and spirits. … ‘I guess the best word to describe it is bonkers’ said Bryan Keeler of Lowry Hill Liquors. … That’s the way many wine and spirits shops across Southwest Minneapolis feel about the rush of business since cases of COVID-19 began to rise in the state, prompting the city and state to ask people to stay in their homes and shut down dine-in restaurants and other public gatherings. Many stores have altered their business to meet the situation by offering curbside pickup and increased delivery.”

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In other news…

Another cancellation:St. Paul’s Grand Old Day canceled due to COVID-19” [Star Tribune]

And another:Minnesota Orchestra nixes June tour to Vietnam, South Korea” [Star Tribune]

And a closure:Minneapolis nightclub Honey to close permanently” [Bring Me The News]

Smooth sailing:Stillwater Lift Bridge Now Raised For Boat Traffic” [WCCO]

Some options:They’re hiring! Companies seek thousands of new employees amid the coronavirus pandemic” [KSTP]

Staying connected:US Internet CEO: ‘If we can survive ‘Game of Thrones,’ we can survive COVID-19′” [City Pages]