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Walz activates Minnesota National Guard to assist with coronavirus response

KSTP-TV reports: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Saturday that activates the Minnesota National Guard for assistance with the coronavirus pandemic. … The National Guard’s first mission is to move personal protective equipment from Camp Ripley in Little Falls to the Minnesota Department of Health warehouse in St. Paul. Personal protective equipment, which includes N95 masks, is in ‘critically low supply’ at hospitals and health care facilities in Minnesota, according to the governor’s news release.

In the Pioneer Press, Dave Orrick writes: “Minnesota likely has more than 10 times as many coronavirus cases than the official numbers reported, health officials said Saturday. In fact, it’s possible the state has 100 times more COVID-19 cases, according to the state’s top infectious disease official. … Presumably a large portion have mild or even nonexistent symptoms, but could still be spreading the virus. ‘Obviously, tenfold sounds like a lot, but it could be as high as 100-fold,’ said Kris Ehresmann, director of infectious disease for the Minnesota Department of Health, on Saturday. ‘That’s why it’s so important to take the community mitigation seriously.’”

From MPR’s Dan Gunderson and the AP: “A private prison in western Minnesota that closed a decade ago is slated to reopen as a COVID-19 care center. Five health-care providers in western Minnesota’s Swift, Chippewa and Lac qui Parle counties are joining forces to set up at least a dozen hospital rooms in the former Prairie Correctional Facility. They’re getting backing from the three counties. Appleton Area Health CEO Lori Andreas said they all knew they would need more capacity if COVID-19 cases surge.

The AP reports: “Minnesota-based Best Buy, the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain, is temporarily closing its stores and moving to curbside pickup service as it tries to curb the spread of the coronavirus. … Best Buy customers can also still order online or on its app and have their products shipped directly to their homes.

WCCO-TV reports: “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Allina Health announced a community-based initiative calling on the public’s help to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers. Due to the nationwide shortage, both organizations are calling for a donation of factory-made N95 ear loop masks or for skilled volunteers to create CDC-approved, reusable face masks.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 03/22/2020 - 12:45 pm.

    MPR did a story on the homemade face masks to be donated to health care workers this morning. Here is a website with sewing instructions:

    I do worry a bit because fabric will never be as good as the commercial masks designed for that purpose and meeting regulations to hold out particles of a particular size, but I guess it’s better than the alternative – nothing.

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