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COVID continues to surge in Minnesota ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Plus: at least 5 dead after SUV plows into crowd at Wisconsin holiday parade; parishioners protest what they say is erasure of culture from Minnesota’s first Mexican parish; Loons eliminated from MLS playoffs; and more.

Healthcare personnel working in a coronavirus disease intensive care unit.
Healthcare personnel working in a coronavirus disease intensive care unit.
Courtesy of Intermountain Health/Handout via REUTERS

WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy reports: “Ahead of the big holiday weekend COVID cases are surging in the region. In Minnesota alone new cases are up 53% over the last 14 days. Minnesota hospitalizations due to COVID are up nearly 40% over the last 14 days. There are concerns the Thanksgiving holiday could lead to an even greater surge and most hospitals are back to putting off elective surgeries. The increase in hospitalizations is coming not just from a rise in COVID patients but also non-COVID emergencies, as well as preventative health checks many patients have been putting off.”

This also at MPR, “Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 data shows a pandemic hitting new highs for 2021, putting more pressure on hospitals with no signs yet of retreat. Key metrics are at or near their highest levels since December. The rate of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is hovering at just under 10 percent, according to MPR News calculations, about twice the rate officials find concerning. … the struggle continues to get first shots into more Minnesotans. Wide gaps remain in the vaccination rates among regions and counties.”

The AP’s Scott Bauer and Mike Householder write: “A joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms turned deadly in an instant, as an SUV sped through barricades and into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40 others. … The city of Waukesha posted on its social media accounts late Sunday that it could confirm at least five died and more than 40 were injured, while noting that it was still collecting information. …A ‘person of interest’ was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said, but he gave no details about the person or any possible motive. The investigation was ongoing, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”

The Star Tribune’s Matt McKinney reports, “A group of disabled seniors who may be forced out of a Newport apartment building say their landlord has refused to meet with them or grant more time to find another place to live. The seniors, who live with a variety of mental and physical disabilities in the Wings of Newport housing complex, say the threat to their housing came with the end of the pandemic-related eviction moratorium. Some worry they could now become homeless. ‘It’s not like we didn’t pay rent. It’s not like we did anything wrong. He just decided to end everybody’s lease,’ said resident Lucretia Brewer. The standoff has pitted a few dozen residents against Chris Onken, the CEO of Zumbro House, a Woodbury-based corporation that bills itself as a leader in the development of community-based supported residential services.”

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KARE 11’s Charmain Nero reports: “Travelers of all ages are heading toward TSA checkpoints at MSP International Airport, where airport officials estimate this year’s bookings mark an approximate 70% recovery compared to pre-pandemic numbers – nearly doubling over 2020 Thanksgiving holiday peaks. Back then, the airport saw a single-day high of more than 15,383 travelers screened. … Nationwide, travel experts say more than 4.2 million Americans are expected to travel by air this Thanksgiving holiday season. According to TSA, Saturday marked the third consecutive day where more than 2 million people were screened at airport across the country.”

Kim Hyatt of the Star Tribune writes: “About 50 parishioners protested outside Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in St. Paul on Sunday over what they say is the erasure of culture and tradition from Minnesota’s first Mexican parish. … They say that Aztec dancers are no longer allowed inside the church, there is no Sunday school or choir, masses previously led in Spanish are now in Latin, parishioners can no longer organize food shelves or clothing drives, such as helping supply winter coats, and women are not allowed on the altar. …While parishioners acknowledge some of the changes were in response to the pandemic, they say some of the shifts go beyond COVID-19 precautions and exhibit a lack of respect from church leadership toward founders of the church.”

WCCO-TV reports: “Four people are hurt after the state patrol says a wrong-way driver caused a head-on crash on Interstate 35W in Minneapolis. It happened around 11 p.m. Sunday in the northbound lanes near 31st Street. According to the Minnesota State Patrol crash report, the driver going the wrong way crashed with another car in the far left lane. Troopers say two people in the car going the wrong way suffered life-threatening injuries. Two people in the car that was hit were also hospitalized, but are expected to survive.”

Andy Greder writes in the Pioneer Press: “The end of Minnesota United’s postseason held plenty of foreshadowing — from the entirety of the 2021 regular season to early in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday. The Loons had stretches of positivity — from simply making the playoffs after an 0-4 start into May to staking a 1-0 lead over the Portland Timbers on Sunday — but in the end, MNUFC was too erratic, especially at the end of first halves to keep their season alive. After Franco Fragapane scored in the 11th minute to put MNUFC up 1-0 on the road, the Loons gave up an equalizer just before halftime, a timeframe filled with conceding goals all season. Portland star Sebastian Blanco scored two goals in the second half, and fourth-seed Portland beat fifth-seed Minnesota 3-1 at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.