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University of Minnesota unveils 20,000 COVID-tests-per-day plan

Plus: Omar seeks Amazon investigation after firing of workers raising safety concerns; deal to allow takeout beer and wine reached in Legislature; Duluth gives free land to developers for affordable housing; and more.

University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

That’s a lot of tests. The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson reports:The University of Minnesota unveiled a plan Thursday to conduct 20,000 tests per day for COVID-19, the respiratory illness that has now been lab-confirmed in 1912 people in the state and has caused 94 deaths. … The university plan called for 10,000 molecular tests per day to detect the virus and diagnose COVID-19, and 10,000 serological antibody tests per day to identify people who have recovered from their infections.”

Asking questions. WCCO reports:Rep. Ilhan Omar is calling for an investigation into Amazon over the internet giant’s firing of two Minnesota warehouse workers who had raised concerns about workplace safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. … The Minnesota Democrat sent a letter Wednesday to an official at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), asking for a comprehensive probe into Amazon’s firing of the two employees who worked at a warehouse in Shakopee.”

Cheers! The AP’s Steve Karnowski reports (via the PiPress): “Legislative leaders have agreed on a plan to let Minnesota restaurants offer beer and wine to go to help them stay afloat while they subsist on takeout orders during the shutdown for COVID-19. … The bill is scheduled for votes Thursday in the Senate and Friday in the House. It would allow licensed restaurants to sell up to 72 ounces of beer, hard seltzer or cider, and up to 750 milliliters of wine with a takeout food order. That works out to six 12-ounce cans of beer or a standard bottle of wine. Communities will be allowed to prohibit such sales.”

There is no such thing as a free land. The Star Tribune’s Katie Galioto reports:[Duluth] picked 10 developers to receive free land for housing projects pitched with affordability and creativity in mind. … The Rebuild Duluth program, which was announced in November, is slated to bring 30 new housing units to the city by the end of 2021. … The 10 parcels being doled out have a combined estimated value of $105,000, Hale said, and city staff is guessing they’ll generate about $3.7 million in developments.”

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Adapting. MPR’s Dan Gunderson reports: “When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools in Minnesota last month, Ben Doherty saw a key market disappear overnight. … ‘When schools closed, it was a lump in our throat for sure,’ said Doherty, who runs Open Hands farm with his wife, Erin Johnson, in southern Minnesota near Northfield. … Minneapolis Public Schools are a big customer for their farm, and when they closed and moved to distance learning last month, Open Hands was left with more than 9,000 pounds of carrots. So they offered 25-pound bags for sale on Facebook — and sold them all.”

This is outrageous. The Pioneer Press’ Mara H. Gottfried reports: “A woman was seriously injured by construction equipment in St. Paul on Wednesday afternoon, police said. … Officers responded to the south side of the Arlington Hills Recreation Center, which is at Payne and Maryland avenues, about 2:15 p.m. … Paramedics treated the woman and transported her to a hospital with ‘significant injuries,’ said Sgt. Mike Ernster, a St. Paul police spokesman. … People reported they were cleaning up a homeless encampment when a 49-year-old woman ‘was scooped up in a bulldozer during the cleanup,’ according to an initial emergency dispatch to police.”

In other news…

Personal protective equipment still in short supply:Minnesota hospitals stretching, conserving COVID-19 masks” [Star Tribune]

Well done:Hmong recipes by Minneapolis chef Yia Vang make the cover of Bon Appétit” [Star Tribune]

It’s good to be king:Stauber opens wide money lead in 8th District” [Duluth News Tribune]

Seems overdue:Land O’Lakes removes Native American woman from packaging, shifts focus to farmers” [KSTP]

Stay safe out there:Hennepin County Sheriff offers guidelines for boating in COVID-19” [KARE]

Good luck:3M Open keeps July 23-26 slot on updated PGA Tour schedule” [KMSP]

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Next week:‘Let’s Go Crazy’: Grammy tribute to Prince to air April 21” [Spokesman-Recorder]

Must be nice:North Oaks council member attends a meeting from his hot tub” [Star Tribune]

Hopefully not an omen:Two-Headed Goat Born On Farm Eats With Both Mouths” [WCCO]