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Nurses plan march on Minnesota Capitol to protest lack of PPE

Plus: Amazon workers fearful of returning to Eagan warehouse after six co-workers test positive for COVID-19; Minnesota continues to fall short of testing goals; Minneapolis company under investigation over concerns about antibody tests; and more.

Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota State Capitol
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

At MPR, Kirsti Marohn reports, “A union representing Minnesota nurses is planning a march in St. Paul to demand more personal protective equipment, after a nurse at United Hospital was fired for violating policy by wearing hospital-issued scrubs. The Minnesota Nurses Association says its members will march from United Hospital to the state Capitol on May 20 to call for equipment, training and staffing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses at United Hospital have reported they’ve been disciplined for wearing hospital-issued surgical scrubs instead of their own, because they are worried about carrying the virus home and infecting their families and loved ones.”

At Sahan Journal, Muhktar M. Ibrahim writes, “Workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Eagan say they are terrified to report to work after six co-workers recently tested positive for COVID-19. They say the retail giant isn’t doing enough to protect them, and fear the disease will break out beyond the warehouse walls into their communities.  The company has been slow notifying employees when someone tests positive for the virus and has threatened ill workers with penalties if they call in sick ….”

Says Mara H. Gottfried in the Pioneer Press, “Minnesotans are not faring as well with social distancing as they did at the start of the stay-at-home order, various data points show. It may be due to recent nicer weather, reopening of some businesses or people becoming weary of staying home, but state health officials are reminding people of the importance of keeping up social distancing. … A national scoreboard by a company called Unacast is giving Minnesota a D-minus for social distancing; it shows the state’s “grades” started higher but have been worsening as the stay-at-home order has been in effect.”

Says Joe Carlson for the Star Tribune, “A Minneapolis company, Premier Biotech, is one of four firms under investigation by a U.S. House subcommittee over concerns their tests are not as accurate as what’s claimed on their labels. The company stands behind the China-made test and says its accuracy has been validated by outside researchers. … But the House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy is relying on non-peer-reviewed data to lambaste the tests, which are supposed to tell whether someone has had COVID-19 by detecting antibodies to the virus.”

MPR reports: “Minnesota again fell short of Gov. Tim Walz’s goal of 5,000 daily coronavirus tests on Sunday, despite the Health Department saying there’s capacity to run twice that number. … Walz has said testing 5,000 people every day is critical to reopening the economy. And while supply shortages were faulted with limited testing in the early weeks of the outbreak, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the capacity is there — and the initial messaging may be to blame. ‘Testing’s available, and providers are telling us that people aren’t coming in. So people aren’t availing themselves of the testing capacity that’s there,’ Malcolm said Friday.”

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In The Hill, Norman Sherman writes, “There is no hard evidence that a vice presidential candidate has added significant — if any — votes to a ticket. But this year may be different. There are at least some disgruntled Trump voters up for grabs. … One woman on the short-list has an election record of multiple wins with substantial numbers of swing voters: Amy Klobuchar — with strong debate performances and a brilliant challenge to Brent Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court — has attracted broad support from centrist, moderate Democrats, but she is not offensive to the farther left.”

From Fox News, we have Talia Kaplan writing, “A rural Minnesota business owner called on Gov. Tim Walz to fully reopen the state, saying ‘We’ve gone too long.’ Jim ‘Red’ Knutson, owner of Jim’s Ash Trail Store in Orr, Minn., said on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ on Sunday …. ‘The mines, they laid off people. The resorts are empty,’ Knutson said. ‘You can’t go out camping in Voyageurs National Park. It’s shut down. Are you kidding me? You got a better chance of getting eaten by a timber wolf or a bear than you do catching that virus out there,’ he continued.”

For WCCO-TV, David Schuman reports, “Some people hoping to rent vacation homes north of the Twin Cities are getting scammed out of their money. Deanne Furan was alerted to what was going on when she received a voicemail from a stranger that said, ‘You probably don’t know me but we were trying to rent your Cross Lake cabin.’ The man told her that her cabin was listed on Craigslist, which came as news to her. ‘[The price] is low enough where people feel like, ‘Wow what a deal,’ Furan said. Blaine Kriesel discovered his cabin was listed as well. ‘Someone was posing as us and collecting rent payments for it,’ he said.”

The Star Tribune’s Katy Read tells us, “A Wayzata businessman who has failed three times to win city approval to put up a massive, multiuse building on Lake Minnetonka says he’s done trying. … [Rick] Born wanted to demolish and replace the Boatworks, a 1940 multiuse building he owns on the western end of town, with a much larger Boatworks, four stories just steps from the lake. Its more than 200,000 square feet would house office space, a restaurant and condominiums. …Although many city officials liked the concept generally, the City Council ultimately rejected it on May 5, deciding that the four-story structure was just too big.”

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