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Best Buy to furlough 51,000 store employees

Plus: A New York Times op-ed by Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison; U of M researchers get a ‘thumbs-up’ on a new low-cost ventilator; Grandma’s Marathon defending champ biding time in Duluth; and more.

Best Buy store
People waiting for purchases outside of a Best Buy store in Arlington, Virginia, on April 10.
REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Jobless numbers jump. The Star Tribune’s Kavita Kumar reports:Best Buy will furlough 51,000 store employees in the U.S., or about 40% of its total workforce, as its stores remain closed nationwide aside from curbside pickup. … The Richfield-based retailer’s sales were up 4% heading into the pandemic, and surged 25% in one week in mid-March as consumers preparing to hunker down at home rushed to buy computers, keyboards, webcams and home needs.”

COVID-19 and north Minneapolis. A New York Times op-ed by Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison: “During every crisis, well-meaning white people here make a ritual of acknowledging the city’s steep inequities, but we’ve been hearing the same ‘woe is you’ sentiment for a long time. It’s as if people think the mere acknowledgment is the work. But as North Minneapolis prepares to brace ourselves for the grim future Detroit and Milwaukee have shown us, the death tolls suggest that acknowledgments don’t mean a thing. I want to take us back to this notion of remedy.

U of M researchers get a “thumbs-up” on a new low-cost ventilator. KSTP reports: “The prototype for Coventor was made using “off-the-shelf” components and is compact enough to fit on a desktop. It’s the first ventilator of its kind and features a slider-crank mechanism that allows medical professionals to control how much oxygen is being administered to patients. …”

MinnesotaCareless. The Star Tribune’s Glenn Howatt reports: “A state computer system was supposed to streamline enrollment for Medicaid and MinnesotaCare, but instead it has cost the state $76 million in federal funding due to data errors and has increased workloads for counties. … Minnesota stands to lose an equivalent amount in future funding from the federal government due to the errors. …”

Not all villains wear masks. KSTP also reports: “Minnesota-based 3M announced Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against a Florida company that allegedly tried to sell millions of ‘likely nonexistent’ 3M N95 masks to the federal Division of Strategic National Stockpile. … In a press release, 3M identified the company as Geftico LLC.”

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In other news…

Summer is coming: “Dock and lift workers now considered essential, DNR issues reminders for social distancing on water” [KSTP]

Greater Minnesota lifeline: “Minnesota-based Schwan’s sees demand increase during pandemic” [Rochester Post Bulletin]

Good news: “Mayo says it has capacity to deliver testing needed to reopen Minnesota’s economy” [Pioneer Press]

So soon after Easter: “DNR cancels egg harvest operations for popular game fish” [KARE]

Running in place:Grandma’s Marathon defending champ biding time in Duluth” [Duluth News Tribune]

Rather than cursing the darkness: “Coronavirus In Minnesota: Minneapolis’ North Loop Restaurants Using ‘Ripple Votives’ To Stoke Hope” [WCCO]