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Health care providers questioning allocation of vaccines in Minnesota

Plus: winter storm expected to dump snow on much of Minnesota; cell tower agreement could provide mobile phone service to Gunflint Trail, parts of BWCA; South Dakota governor invites Minnesota bar owners to relocate there; and more.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Reports the Star Tribune’s Glenn Howatt: “Some Minnesota health care providers large and small are questioning the allocation of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses in the state, especially for high-risk health care workers. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester said its 2,300-dose shipment last week would only be enough for 6% of its front-line health care workers. … said Dr. Amy Williams, executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice. ‘We have voiced our concerns and we hope that this will be addressed in a way that enables our staff to be vaccinated at the same pace as other health care workers in the state.’ But a network of 17 safety net clinics whose patients are testing positive for COVID-19 at rates three times above average said they’ve received no doses and haven’t been notified when they will receive any.”

In the Pioneer Press, Nick Woltman writes: “Dreams of a white Christmas in the Twin Cities this year will likely come true — and then some. Although there’s no snow on the ground in the metro right now, a rapidly intensifying winter storm expected to blow through Minnesota on Wednesday will likely dump between 6 and 8 inches on the Twin Cities and bring sustained winds of up to 40 mph, according to the National Weather Service. The NWS has issued a winter storm warning for the Twin Cities and the easternmost counties of central Minnesota, beginning at 1 p.m. Wednesday and running through 6 a.m. Thursday, which is Christmas Eve. A blizzard warning has been issued for counties to the west, including Carver County.”

The Star Tribune’s Katie Galioto reports, “Cellphone service could soon reach some of Minnesota’s most remote northern wilderness, including the Gunflint Trail and parts of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. The Cook County Board on Tuesday approved a lease agreement allowing AT&T to build a tower on public land, a decision that sparked controversy among locals and visitors who prefer the region remain off the grid.”

KSTP-TV reports: “A former Chisago County sheriff has been sentenced to probation after having his two sentences suspended for stalking and harassment. … An investigative report released to KSTP in a data request, along with emails and text messages, revealed a series of bizarre events starting in October 2017 involving Richard Duncan and a female coworker.… The report, along with the criminal complaint against Duncan, states he admitted to sending a series of letters to another county employee under the alias ‘Control Freak.’”

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The AP’s Todd Richmond reports: “Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday that his administration has partnered with a medical testing company to provide at-home COVID-19 tests for free if a requestor lacks health insurance coverage as the state set a new record high in deaths tied to the disease. State Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said during a teleconference and reporters that health officials are concerned that fewer people are getting tested, leading to a false picture of the disease’s prevalence. The DHS reported 6,852 people had been tested between Monday and Tuesday. About 20,000 people were getting tested daily in mid-November.”

Josh Verges writes in the Pioneer Press: “Henry Sibley High School administrators have put a stop to lessons on two novellas, citing complaints about their content. The school told parents last week that it had asked staff to ‘pause teaching’ on John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men,’ which had been assigned to ninth-grade language arts students. The letter cited recent ‘communication from families and staff expressing concerns about racist stereotypes and slurs used in the novel,’ which first was published in 1937. … The school also has ‘paused’ the use of Larry Watson’s ‘Montana 1948,’ citing ‘concerns about the content … from our American Indian community.’”

The Star Tribune’s Libor Jany reports,The city of Minneapolis will pay $170,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a man who suffered severe burns when a police officer threw a flash-bang grenade that landed in the man’s car last March. Jerrod Burt alleged in his federal suit that he was injured when the stun device penetrated the car’s window and detonated against his body as he sat in the driver’s seat. A friend who was sitting next to him was unharmed, the suit alleges, but Burt was left with second- and third-degree burns to his right arm and chest.”

In the New York Post, Steven Nelson writes, “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is inviting Minnesota bar owners to relocate to her state after a COVID-19 restrictions crackdown. ‘Come to South Dakota! We respect your rights. We won’t shut you down,’ the Republican governor wrote Monday on Twitter. Noem, 49, is widely seen as a Republican rising star and is an outspoken advocate against lockdowns. Noem, who also posted this week a photo of herself using a flamethrower, invited bar owners to move after neighboring Minnesota’s Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison sued bars that defied Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s pandemic restrictions on indoor dining.”

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