State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) staff have seen a decrease in calls to the school and child care question hotline and are scaling back the hotline’s hours as a result.
Despite the decrease in calls to that particular hotline, the SEOC remains a busy place with dozens of employees from state agencies and several volunteer organizations working either working physically or virtually to coordinate the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The virus does not take a holiday and neither will the State Emergency Operations Center,” said Joe Kelly, director of the Department of Public Safety’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management division.
SEOC hotline hours changing
- The SEOC continues to work on personal protective equipment (PPE) issues across Minnesota. A critical PPE need is emerging as gowns are becoming a challenge. The SEOC is working with partners to find gowns.
- The state warehouse moved to a new location on Monday. Members of the National Guard are providing around-the-clock staffing to ensure PPE needs are met in a timely fashion.
- The SEOC continues to support the state hotline. The hotline received 119 calls on Monday. The hotline hours are changing. The hotline will now operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. State employees are staffing the hotline and are answering calls at either 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504.
- School districts, charter schools reporting more than 2.9 million meals served
- The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has asked districts and charter schools to self-report the number of meals they are serving to the school communities and the number of students receiving school-age care.
- The final count over the second week of distance learning, with about 324 school districts and charter schools reporting, is:
- 1,508,005 meals served
- 5,320 average school-age students cared for each day
- The combined total for the first and second week of distance learning, with about 331 school districts and charter schools reporting, is:
- 2,900,620 meals served
- 5,772 average school-age students cared for each day
- More information can be found on the MDE website.
9 more people die from COVID-19; more than 900 patients out of isolation
- 1,695 lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota — an increase of 45 cases from April 13.
- 79 reported deaths — an increase of nine deaths from April 13; six of nine additional deaths were residents in their 60s, 70s or 80s in long-term care facilities.
- 177 patients are currently hospitalized with 75 in the ICU; 909 patients out of isolation.
- Learn more about the latest lab-diagnosed cases on the COVID-19 public dashboard.
Using face coverings? Do not sterilize them in the microwave
State Fire Marshal Jim Smith is reminding Minnesotans using masks not to sanitize them in the microwave. Putting a mask inside of a microwave could cause a fire. The Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control recommend using a washing machine to safely sterilize and clean a cloth face mask. Learn more on the CDC’s website.
2020 “egg take” operations canceled due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will cancel its 2020 egg take operations for walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and steelhead because the work cannot be done safely under COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
- Collecting eggs and sperm from spawning fish in the wild is a labor intensive effort that requires teams of six to eight people working in close proximity.
- After a careful examination of whether the egg take process could be re-engineered, DNR determined that is was not possible to safely handle fish during the egg take and practice appropriate social distancing to protect staff from COVID-19.
- The DNR collects eggs each spring to hatch, raise and then release either as fry or fingerlings to stock Minnesota waters that have low or no natural reproduction of these fish species. While this stocking is important to maintain fish populations and angling opportunities over time, missing one year will not cause long-term harm to the fish population of any waterbody.
- More information about the egg take operation cancellation is on the DNR’s website.
Minnesota 911 dispatch centers continue downward trend in emergency calls
Call volumes for Minnesota public safety answering points (PSAPs), also known as 911 dispatch centers, continued their decline over the first and second weeks in April compared to the same period last year, according to statistics provided by CenturyLink to the Department of Public Safety Division of Emergency Communication Networks (DPS-ECN).
- First week of April
- Minnesota PSAPs received 45,970 calls in 2019.
- Minnesota PSAPs answered 44,389 calls in 2020.
- Second week of April
- Minnesota PSAPs received 55,828 calls in 2019.
- Minnesota PSAPs answered 46,980 calls in 2020.
Red Cross in Minnesota: Participation in convalescent plasma for COVID-19
- In coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Red Cross is seeking people who are fully recovered from COVID-19 and may be able to donate plasma to help current patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections.
- We are thankful to fully recovered COVID-19 patients for their willingness to donate plasma to treat patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19. Potential donors must complete the Convalescent Plasma COVID-19 Donor Request Form and be contacted by the Red Cross for special scheduling.
- The Red Cross is processing a large number of donor contact forms and eligibility information from interested individuals across the country. We hope to provide a response to the majority of potential donors in 3 to 5 business days. Should we experience a surge in potential donors, this time period may be longer.
- Program details and the donor request form are online.
Save health care resources for COVID-19 by staying safe on the road
The recent traffic fatality rate appears to be slowing after a discouraging increase when traffic volumes were declining.
- Even one death is one too many. Minnesotans can do their part and drive smart to avoid a crash. Preventing critical injuries from a crash can help save valuable healthcare resources for the battle against COVID-19.
- The last reported fatality was on April 12.
- Preliminary figures show there have been 76 fatalities on Minnesota roads compared with 71 reported at this time last year.
- From March 16-April 12, speeding and careless driving were among the most frequently cited contributing factors in traffic fatalities.
Traffic volumes remain low statewide
The Minnesota Department of Transportation continues to monitor traffic volumes statewide.
- Metro area
Traffic volumes on Monday, April 13, were down 43 percent compared to Monday averages for April 2019.
Traffic volumes on Monday, April 13, were down 40 percent compared to Monday averages for April 2019.