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Minnesota likely to announce more COVID-19 restrictions this week

Plus: fourth Minnesota state senator test positive for COVID-19; Ilhan Omar says campaign no longer doing business with husband’s consulting firm; Noem resits imposing restrictions in SD despite nation’s highest COVID death-rate; and more.

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Jeremy Olson and Glenn Howatt write in the Star Tribune: “Minnesota could see more COVID-19 restrictions this week, including a pause on youth and varsity athletics, to stem a surge in the pandemic that threatens to overwhelm hospitals and leave patients without care when needed. College students are also being advised to stay on campus over the Thanksgiving holiday or take precautions to prevent spread of the virus. COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 93% since Nov. 1 — with Minnesota hospitals reporting on Monday a record 1,558 patients who were admitted to inpatient beds with the infectious disease. Nearly 30% of intensive care patients statewide now have COVID-19 — a rate that has nearly doubled over the past month.”

Dana Ferguson with the Forum News Service writes: “A fourth Minnesota state senator has tested positive for the coronavirus, a Republican Senate caucus spokeswoman said Monday. Sen. Jerry Relph, R-St. Cloud, received a positive COVID-19 test Friday after learning that he had been in contact with another person at the Minnesota Senate who had contracted COVID-19. … Relph is the latest GOP state lawmaker to report testing positive for the virus following a Nov. 5 caucus leadership meeting at the Capitol complex. Members were also reported to have held a post-election party later that night with more than 100 in attendance.”

Briana Bierschbach and Jessie Van Berkel write: “Minnesota DFL legislators are demanding more transparency from Republican senators who held large indoor gatherings that may have contributed to a COVID-19 outbreak at the Capitol. The Capitol outbreak includes an unknown number of staffers and at least four senators, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, who said Sunday that he’s quarantining in Florida after testing positive. At least one House Republican member has also tested positive, a spokesman confirmed on Monday.”

For the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “The University of St. Thomas is urging students to take a coronavirus test before heading home for Thanksgiving following a sudden increase in cases on campus. The school said Monday that 207 staff and students have tested positive in the last two weeks — more than the total from the previous six weeks. The spike is partly the result of fall break and Halloween parties, contact tracers learned. Officials responded by implementing a two-week ‘quiet period’ — halting in-person activities unrelated to instruction and giving students and faculty permission to take their classes online where possible.”

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An AP story says, “Voters in Minnesota made their pick for president while holding negative views about the country’s direction, according to an expansive AP survey of the American electorate. The race between President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden concluded Tuesday as the nation remains in the throes of a global public health crisis and mired in the economic downturn it brought on. AP VoteCast found that 37 percent of Minnesota voters said the U.S. is on the right track and 62 percent of voters said it is headed in the wrong direction.”

Says a KSTP-TV story, “The former CEO of Minneapolis-based Crown Bank who pleaded guilty to fraud and tax offenses was sentenced to federal prison Monday. According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Peter Dahl was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Dahl pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return.  According to Dahl’s guilty plea, while president of Crown Bank, he conducted transactions involving funds of Crown Bank for his own purposes.”

The Star Tribune’s Stephen Montemayor reports, “U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has told supporters that her campaign is no longer doing business with her husband’s political consulting firm, a connection that had previously sparked scrutiny and complaints to campaign finance watchdogs. In an email late Sunday, Omar said her campaign was terminating its contract with the firm to ‘make sure that anybody who is supporting our campaign with their time or financial support feels there is no perceived issue with that support.’ The Federal Election Commission has taken no public action in response to a complaint last year from a conservative group that alleged money from Omar’s campaign paid to now-husband Tim Mynett and his E Street Group LLC for personal travel expenses.”

For the AP, Stephen Groves writes, “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday showed no sign of budging from her hands-off approach to the pandemic, despite finding herself among a dwindling number of Midwest governors holding out against mask mandates and facing a death rate in her state that has risen to the highest in the nation this month. As the virus has steadily grown into a full-scale health crisis across the Midwest, the Republican governor has remained resolute — sticking to the limited-government ideals that have made her a rising star in the conservative movement and arguing that government mandates don’t work. … The only state where new cases per capita are worse, North Dakota, moved to require masks and limit the size of gatherings on Friday.”