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Hospitals prepare for COVID-19 surge as Minnesota reopens

Hennepin County Medical Center, downtown Minneapolis
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
Hennepin County Medical Center, downtown Minneapolis

Hoping for the best case scenario. The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson reports: “Hospital leaders endorsed Gov. Tim Walz’s decision to end the statewide stay-at-home order on Monday, but urged Minnesotans to remain vigilant to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus that could still overwhelm them and leave them unable to care for some patients at the peak of the pandemic. … Minnesota appears to have a razor-thin margin of critical hospital supplies — including critical care beds and ventilators — to weather the surge of COVID-19 infections that is expected this summer, according to new state modeling results.

Speaking of PPE… KARE’s Brandon Stahl, Lauren Leamanczyk and Steve Eckert report: “Nurse Sarah Simons was in disbelief over HCMC’s solution to a shortage of N95 respirator masks. … The hospital had a cache of thousands of them in storage. The problem: they had been there for nearly 20 years, with manufacturing dates listed on them as 2001 and 2002, expiring well over a decade ago. … Despite the nurses’ objections, Simons said they had to wear them anyway.

Devastating report on the realities facing pig farmers. The New York Times’ Michael Corkery and David Yaffe-Bellany report:One Minnesota hog farmer sealed the cracks in his barn and piped carbon dioxide through the ventilation system. Another farmer has considered gassing his animals after loading them into a truck. And a third shot his pigs in the head with a gun. It took him all day. … These are dark days on many American pig farms. Coronavirus outbreaks at meatpacking plants across the Midwest have created a backlog of pigs that are ready for slaughter but have nowhere to go.”

Virtual summer school is on. The Star Tribune’s Anthony Lonetree reports: “Gov. Tim Walz said Thursday that schools will have the option of using distance learning or a hybrid of in-school instruction and remote learning for summer school this year. … With his declaration came an acknowledgment that many students have not been thriving under the remote approach.

In other news…

New justice:Walz appoints Judge Gordon Moore to Minnesota Supreme Court” [KSTP]

Unity from Minnesota’s members of Congress:‘It’s So Vital’: Minn. Congressional Delegation Urges Those Who Recovered From COVID-19 To Donate Plasma” [WCCO]

Awful:Coronavirus devastates Moorhead nursing home with 9 deaths: ‘It’s too late for us’” [Fargo Forum]

Klobuchar veep speculation, part 324:As Biden veep search ramps up, Harris and Klobuchar get a close look” [Washington Post]

Sincerest condolences:Rainforest Cafe founder, wife lose suit over municipal dock in front of their Lake Minnetonka property” [Star Tribune]

Want a Ferris wheel?Betty Danger’s Owner Looking To Sell Due To Pandemic” [WCCO]

Malls coming back:Mall of America to reopen June 1, Rosedale and Galleria on Monday” [Star Tribune]

Celebrate safely:Twin Cities Pride Weekend, Parade Going Virtual Next Month” [WCCO]

Have you seen this turtle?Kenyon family searches for missing turtle” [River Towns]

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