ST. PAUL — Minnesota is adding more COVID-19 cases each day and turning the dial incrementally to bring back more business activity and other parts of the state’s economy in the coming weeks. To make this work, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is asking Minnesotans to continue focusing on maintaining social distancing.
Teams at MDH, the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and elsewhere are working hard to develop reopening plans that accommodate safe social distancing.
All Minnesotans are needed to make that effort to reopen the economy meaningful by not only following specific guidelines when finalized, but also by following basic social distancing guidelines in every part of their lives — not just when going to work at a reopened business, but also when walking through their neighborhood or going to the hardware store or park.
SEOC continues effort to obtain and deliver personal protective equipment
The SEOC remains fully activated and staffed either physically or virtually by all state agencies and several volunteer organizations.
Officials in the SEOC continue to focus on personal protective equipment (PPE) and are working with FEMA on PPE orders in Minnesota.
As part of the pubic-private partnerships in Minnesota the SEOC is working to distribute donations of bulk supplies such as hand sanitizer and bleach to counties across the state. County emergency managers and the Minnesota National Guard are assisting with the effort.
The SEOC continues supporting the state hotline, which received 70 calls on Friday but call volume was down significantly over the weekend. Employees are answering calls at 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504. The hotline is currently operating from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
COVID-19 cases continue to climb
428 reported deaths — an increase of nine since May 3. Seven of the nine deaths were people in long-term care facilities.
7,234 lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota — an increase of 571 cases since May 3.
396 patients are currently hospitalized with 166 in intensive care units (ICU). The number of ICU patients is up 11 from May 3.
4,212 patients have been released from isolation.
DWI arrests increase as stay at home order continues
One positive from the governor’s stay at home order seemed to be the initial drop in DWI arrests. Sadly, those numbers have steadily increased each weekend. Here is a breakdown of DWIs each weekend since March 20 in Minnesota:
May 1-4: 164
April 24-27: 143
April 17-20: 133
April 10-13: 118
April 3-6: 109
March 29-April 1: 94
March 20-23: 126
The average number of DWI arrests each weekend before COVID-19 was 265.
Online job board connects people with disabilities, workers
Direct Support Connect, an online job board, connects personal care assistants (PCAs) and other direct support workers with the people with disabilities who want to hire them. New enhanced features make Direct Support Connect easier to use than ever:
Individuals who hire direct support workers can post job descriptions that include location, pay range, supports needed and desired schedule.
People looking for work can view job openings compatible with their skills, schedule and work goals.
New messaging features support private, secure messaging and live chat with others who have Direct Support Connect profiles.
Agencies seek trucking, carbon sources, for state’s livestock farmers
The Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture need assistance with disposal and composting of livestock carcasses due to the closing of meat packing plants. The agencies are surveying the trucking industry to determine if firms have extra capacity to haul carcasses. The trucking survey is available online here. The agencies are also seeking carbon sources, such as woodchips, to aid in the composting process. The carbon survey is available online here. For more information, contact Michael Crusan with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health at 651-201-6815 or via email.
MDE supporting educators with online professional development
The Minnesota Department of Education has announced additional professional development opportunities for educators focused on building and maintaining relationships. Webinars will be held on May 8, 12, 19 and 26. Information on the webinars and registration links are available on MDE’s website. In addition, previously recorded webinars that focused on giving educators tools to support students, specifically students from communities that have been disproportionately burdened by distance learning are now available on demand on MDE’s website. Recordings from webinars that were held during the statewide professional development days on May 1 and 4 will be available over the next week.
May 2-3 weekend traffic volumes are 25-30% below 2019 weekend averages for May
The Minnesota Department of Transportation continues to monitor traffic volumes statewide. Weekend traffic volumes for May 2-3 were below weekend totals for May 2019.
Metro area: Traffic volumes on Saturday, May 2 were down 26 percent compared to Saturday averages for May 2019. Traffic volumes on Sunday, May 3 were down 27 percent compared to Sunday averages for May 2019.
Statewide: Traffic volumes on Saturday, May 2 were down 28 percent compared to Saturday averages for May 2019. Traffic volumes on Sunday, May 3 were down 30 percent compared to Sunday averages for May 2019.