Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Friday he worries about North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa not issuing stay-at-home orders. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum pushed back on that criticism on Saturday, April 4.
In response to Walz's statement, Burgum said each governor cares about their states and uses information specific to their states to make their own decisions. He also noted that people in Minnesota are still allowed to go outside for multiple reasons.
“Let’s just figure out how to be North Dakota smart on this one,” he said.
An online petition asking Burgum to order mandatory shelter-in-place has gained more than 1,000 signatures since it was created on Friday afternoon.
"Gov. Burgum needs to understand that while people are indeed responsible for their own health, we must also do our part to protect the medically complex, immunocompromised, and elderly," said petition creator Denise French. "I firmly believe the majority of this state understands the vital importance of a shelter-in-place order and we need leadership who supports the health and wellness of all North Dakotans."
Burgum has advocated for personal responsibility over government mandates and even encourages residents to take in the outdoors as long as they stay 6 feet apart from each other. He said he wondered if states will face lawsuits claiming some orders are unconstitutional.
“Make no mistake, I will use every tool at my disposal as governor to protect the lives and safety of North Dakotans, but I’m only going to use those tools if it makes sense,” Burgum said.
There are nine states that have not issued a statewide shelter-in-place order.
The North Dakota Department of Health on Saturday, announced 13 new cases COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus. The total positive tests for the virus in North Dakota is up to 186.
A new feature on the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 situation webpage lists the names of all long-term care facilities in the state with outbreaks, which Ehresmann referred to as an "unprecedented level of data" for the state agency to provide.
It only requires one person to test positive for the situation to be considered an outbreak, Ehresmann said, and that person can be a resident, employee or someone who had simply visited the facility before testing positive, such as a contractor.
"This isn't like getting coal in your stocking at Christmas," Ehresmann said, referring to the facilities listed. "This is not intended to suggest that these facilities are in any way not doing the right thing by their resident. This is simply being transparent."
The Health Department does not provide the number of people who have tested positive at each facility, though Ehresmann did report that as of Saturday, 13 of the deaths in Minnesota have been associated with congregate care at nine different facilities.
Currently, 47 facilities have cases, 31 one of those only have one case, seven have two cases and nine have more than two cases. Out of a total of 85 confirmed cases associated with congregated care facilities, 59 of them are resident cases.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported 76 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state Saturday, bringing the total to 865 and marking the biggest single-day jump yet.
The Department of Health also reports two more deaths for a total of 24.
South Dakota State Rep. Bob Glanzer, a Republican from Huron died Friday night at the age of 75.
Glanzer's niece Mari Hofer, also of Huron, died last week after testing positive for COVID-19. Hofer was a teacher at James Valley Christian School.
The number of COVID-19 cases in South Dakota totaled 212 as of Saturday, April 4, which is an increase of 25 cases from the day before.
The South Dakota Department of Health reported two deaths as of Saturday, but that number is expected to increase to at least four total deaths once certified death records have been filed for the death of Glanzer, and the death of a resident at an Avera retirement facility in Sioux Falls.
Around the region
- There have now been 56 deaths reported in Wisconsin. Wisconsin health officials reported 196 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the state's total to 2,112.
- Sanford Health announced in a news release Friday, April 3, it is waiving all medical co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance charges related to COVID-19 treatment through the end of May for all patrons of the Sanford Health Plan. The price waiver applies to all people with fully insured group and individual plans in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.
Job Service North Dakota received more than 28,600 claims for unemployment benefits between mid-March and the beginning of April — far more than the total number of claims filed in all of 2019. The agency announced Saturday it can now accept claims from independent contractors, gig economy workers, self-employed individuals and workers who previously exhausted unemployment benefits.
More than 25,000 tests have been completed at the Minnesota Department of Health's Public Health Lab and external laboratories.
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