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Minnesota health officials worry about surging COVID-19 cases

Plus: community, faith-based leaders speak out in support of demoted Minneapolis police official; Pence still plans stop in Minnesota despite exposure to aide who tested positive for coronavirus; Gophers lose to Michigan; and more.

For the Star Tribune, Christopher Snobeck writes: “With case numbers soaring in Minnesota’s border states and signs of distress from crowded medical centers in Wisconsin, health officials are growing worried as winter approaches. Minnesota has reported more than 1,000 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases for more than two consecutive weeks, with Saturday marking just the second time since the pandemic began that the statewide count has exceeded 2,000 new cases. ‘Health care is nervous, because we think this is going to continue to get worse,’ said Dr. Marilyn Peitso, president of the Minnesota Medical Association.”

For WCCO-TV, Reg Chapman reports: “Support is pouring in for a Minneapolis Police employee who was demoted after a comment some say is controversial. Art Knight was demoted from deputy chief of staff to lieutenant after he was quoted in a printed news article saying ‘you’re just going to get the same old white boys’ in reference to the department’s recruiting practices. …Community and faith-based leaders stood in solidarity in support of Knight. They believe his statement about MPD’s lack of recruiting women and minorities is valid and considers calls for an investigation into his comments unprofessional and unwarranted.”

Also from WCCO: “The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office says they, in addition to several other law enforcement partners, cracked down once again on drag racers in downtown Minneapolis and surrounding areas. Multiple times over recent months, video has shown reckless driving and cars doing burnouts in the Twin Cities, including earlier this month, where video on social media showed the intersection of Washington and 3rd avenues in the North Loop neighborhood filled with cars, and drivers doing donuts and burnouts.”

The AP reports: “Vice President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week — including a stop in Minnesota — despite his exposure to a top aide who tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Saturday. Pence himself tested negative, his office said. Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the vice president is considered a ‘close contact’ of his chief of staff, Marc Short, but will not quarantine, said spokesman Devin O’Malley.”

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Related. In the Washington Post, Shawn Broburg writes: “In the days leading up to the Sept. 30 event in Duluth, Minn., local officials had privately pressed the campaign to abide by state public health guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, documents show. In response, the campaign signed an agreement pledging to follow those rules, limiting attendance to 250 people. On the day of the rally, however, Trump supporters flooded onto the tarmac at Duluth International Airport. They stood shoulder to shoulder, many without masks. ‘We have been notified that the 250 person limit has been exceeded,’ an airport representative emailed a campaign official late that afternoon. ‘This email serves as our notice of a contract violation and we are requesting you remedy the situation.’ The warning went unheeded — and unanswered.”

In the Star Tribune, Randy Johnson writes: “As 2020 has demonstrated time and time again, it sure isn’t 2019 anymore. That certainly was on display Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium, when the 21st-ranked Gophers opened the COVID-19-delayed Big Ten football season with a 49-24 loss to No. 18 Michigan. A Minnesota team that a year ago found ways to prevail in three tight nonconference contests, win seven of nine Big Ten games and take down an SEC power in the Outback Bowl, this year had no answer against an explosive Michigan squad that exploited the Gophers defense and feasted on their special teams.”