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69 more schools in Minnesota report coronavirus outbreaks

Plus: suspect arrested after daylong manhunt around St. John’s University; Sanford Health CEO says he doesn’t have to wear a mask because he got COVID; judge cites the possibility of fraud in Chauvin divorce settlement; and more.

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “The vast majority of Twin Cities public school students will be in distance learning next month, and new coronavirus data published Thursday suggests the rest of them ought to be. Of the state’s 87 counties, only four have had fewer than 50 new coronavirus cases per 10,000 residents over a recent two-week period. According to state guidelines, that means nearly all the schools in the state should close for the foreseeable future. … In a weekly update Thursday, the Department of Health added 69 more schools to the list of buildings where at least five students or staff have been present while contagious with the coronavirus. That brings the number of school outbreaks this school year to 190.”

The Star Tribune’s Christopher Snobeck writes: “Minnesota is receiving 25 staffed ambulances from the federal government to help hospitals transfer patients so medical centers are better prepared for a surge of those critically ill with COVID-19. The state submitted the request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency after ambulance operators said the rising cases could soon exhaust their ability to transfer patients between health care facilities, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. These ‘inter-facility’ transports are up 493% compared with three weeks ago and are rising rapidly.”

The AP reports: “Authorities arrested a suspect Thursday evening in the assault of a Minnesota State Patrol trooper in Stearns County after a daylong manhunt that locked down the campus of St. John’s University. Devan Dajon Wilson, 29, was taken into custody about 6:30 p.m. near Sagatagan Lake on the St. John’s campus in Collegeville, according to a statement posted the State Patrol’s Facebook page. A trooper stopped Wilson’s vehicle on Interstate 94 about 7:30 a.m., suspecting Wilson of driving drunk, the State Patrol said. After a preliminary breath test, Wilson allegedly punched the trooper and broke his jaw, before driving off.”

For the Forum News Service, Jeremy Fugleberg writes: “The president and CEO of one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems says he won’t be wearing a mask at work because he’s recovered from COVID-19, and doing so would only be a ‘symbolic gesture’ because he considers himself immune from the virus. Kelby Krabbenhoft of South Dakota-based Sanford Health laid out his thoughts about having COVID-19, and why he wouldn’t be wearing a mask, in an email sent to health system employees late Wednesday afternoon and obtained from multiple sources by Forum News Service.”

Says Chao Xiong for the Star Tribune, “A divorce settlement that would have given most of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s assets to his wife was rejected by a judge who cited the possibility of fraud. Kellie Chauvin filed for divorce on May 31, days after her husband was charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, leading some veteran divorce attorneys to speculate about whether it was a divorce of convenience to protect their assets against lawsuits in civil court. … under the agreement, Kellie Chauvin would have received all the equity in their two homes, all the money in their bank and investment accounts and all the money from Derek Chauvin’s pension and retirement accounts.”

From WCCO-TV there’s this: “A central Minnesota health care system says its consolidating its hospital resources as it faces a rapidly growing number of COVID-19 patients. CentraCare says that starting next week it’ll be shifting its Sauk Centre location to primarily care for COVID patients while the Melrose and Long Prairie locations will become non-COVID hospitals, treating other hospitalized and surgical patients. Meanwhile, the Monticello location will be adding more rooms to care for those battling the virus. CentraCare officials say that 30 percent of the patients currently in St. Cloud Hospital have COVID-19.”

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The Star Tribune’s Andy Mannix reports, “A Staples, Minn., man pleaded guilty Thursday to breaching a fence that enclosed the Third Precinct police headquarters in Minneapolis and helping light the building on fire during civil unrest that followed the police killing of George Floyd this summer. Bryce Michael Williams, 26, was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to commit arson. According to the indictment, on May 28, Williams was among the hundreds of people who’d gathered around the police precinct in south Minneapolis. … Williams helped light a Molotov cocktail, which another man brought into the building and used it to set a fire, according to the charges.”

For KMSP-TV Matthew Barakat says, “A former Army Green Beret pleaded guilty Wednesday to divulging military secrets to Russia about his Special Forces unit’s activities in former Soviet republics. Peter Rafael Dzibinski Debbins, 45, of Gainesville, Virginia, pleaded guilty to a charge under the federal Espionage Act at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. … Debbins, a Minnesota native, had a 15-year relationship with Russian intelligence, dating back to 1996 when he was an ROTC student at the University of Minnesota and on a visit to Russia for an independent study program gave a handler there the names of four Catholic nuns he had visited, according to the charges against him.”

The AP says, “Giving in to political and public outcry, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has reversed course and will allow winter sports practices and other extracurricular activities for youth and adults to resume at the end of November, although sports competition will remain suspended until mid-December. Burgum late Wednesday made the joint announcement with House Majority Leader Chet Pollert and Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner. Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said the governor’s office had been inundated with calls and messages from constituents opposed to pausing sports practices and other activities. Nowatzki says the governor did not cave to pressure but instead ‘responded to constituent feedback.’”

Also in the Star Tribune, this from Jim Buchta, “Minneapolis home buyers roared back last month, outpacing many suburban sales gains as mortgage rates dipped to new lows, making it the busiest October for home buyers in nearly two decades. Last month there were 6,249 pending sales across the 16-county metro area, a nearly 22% increase over last year, according to a monthly sale report from the Minneapolis Area Realtors. In Minneapolis alone, pending sales were up 47% and in St. Paul sales increased almost 30%. Most suburbs were popular with buyers, as well, but sales gains were generally more tempered than in the core cities.”