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Minnesota charges landlord over eviction during COVID-19 shutdown

Plus: Mayo statistical model to be rolled out statewide to detected COVID-19 hotspots; Medtronic gets approval to market lower-cost ventilator in U.S.; Minnesotans stranded in East Africa amid travel shutdowns; and more.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
MinnPost photo by Erin Hinrichs
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
Can’t stay home if you get kicked out of yours. For the Guardian, Jared Goyette reports: “Authorities in Minnesota have pressed charges against a landlord who evicted a tenant during the coronavirus crisis and thus violated a state order forbidding kicking people out of their homes as the pandemic spreads across the US. … Minnesota’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, worked with Governor Tim Walz to craft the state’s executive order suspending evictions. Landlords have so far been supportive, including the state’s biggest landlord advocacy group, the Minnesota Multi Housing Association. … But last week, in a case that was one of the first of its kind across the country, Ellison’s office pressed charges against a small landlord, Howard Mostad of rural Pine county, for violating the executive order against evictions.

Enhanced monitoring. The Rochester Post Bulletin’s Paul John Scott reports: “Nearly everyone in public health will tell you that taming the coronavirus outbreak is going to require something not yet developed — the ability to quickly identify hot spots for the illness, then deploy resources for contact tracing and containment, over and over until the illness fades from its own lack of transmission. … Thanks to a partnership created last weekend bridging Mayo Clinic data analytic professionals with the Minnesota Department of Health, the statistical programming tools developed by the clinic to find hot zones of greater viral transmission in southern Minnesota will soon go statewide as well.

Another ventilator option. Reuters reports (via the Star Tribune): “Medical device maker Medtronic has won Food and Drug Administration approval to immediately market a lower-cost ventilator to meet increased demand due to the coronavirus outbreak. … The ventilator, the Puritan Bennett 560, is currently sold in 35 countries at an average selling price of under $10,000, the company said late Wednesday. It plans to launch the ventilator in May.”

Stranded abroad. For Sahan Journal, Abdirahman Mohamed reports: “As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, many Americans are finding themselves stranded in East Africa. … One of those is Lul Hersi, a Minnesotan who traveled to Kenya for a vacation in late February. … On March 23, the mother of four from St. Cloud received a text message from a friend explaining that Kenya was suspending international travel. Now, low on her prescription medication, Lul is in a state of uncertainty as she and many other U.S. citizens and permanent residents fight to find a way home as countries close their borders in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.”

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Well someone’s hiring. In the Pioneer Press, Maddie Debilzan reports:Amazon is hiring 600 employees in Minnesota to fulfill picking, packing and shipping and delivery, according to a recent press release. Shakopee is home to a fulfillment center. … Amazon’s hiring surge in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a source of contention across the nation, as employees have asked for more protections, including paid sick leave for at-risk staff members, screening for anyone entering the building and masks for all employees. … On April 2, Amazon announced it would distribute masks to all its employees and take the temperature of anyone entering its warehouses to work.

In other news…

A certain Minnesota senator figures prominently:The 11 most logical picks for Joe Biden’s vice president, ranked” [Washington Post]

Fewer people:Lunds & Byerlys asks that only person purchasing groceries be in stores” [Star Tribune]

Law in times of coronavirus:Minnesota’s newest attorney sworn in curbside due to COVID-19” [KMSP]

Sounds like they’re being cared for:Researchers leave lab animals, equipment on campus” [Minnesota Daily]

Go outside, but alone:St. Paul closes athletic courts, playgrounds, skate parks” [KARE]

Cancel your Wisconsin recreation plans:Coronavirus In Wisconsin: Gov. Evers Closes 40 State Parks, Recreational Areas” [WCCO]

Hey, a normal thing:First saltie of year visits the Twin Ports” [Duluth News Tribune]