South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem on Friday, March 13, confirmed the state has uncovered another case of coronavirus, raising the state's total to nine, and instituted sweeping measures meant to limit the spread of the outbreak in the state.
Noem declared a state of emergency and is asking public K-12 schools to close statewide next week and said state high school basketball tournaments and other school activities will be postponed.
Noem said she will issue an executive order directing all nonessential staff to work remotely, is asking nursing homes to restrict visitors, and said talks have begun about contingency plans for the state's upcoming primary election, set for June 2.
The newly uncovered case is a man in his 30s in McCook County with a history of travel, said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, secretary of the state Department of Health.
That means there the state's confirmed cases now include residents of seven of the state's 66 counties. But there's no indication yet the virus is being passed between people in the state, Malsam-Rysdon said.
Minnesota health officials on Friday, March 13, announced that five more individuals tested positive for the coronavirus in Minnesota, bringing the number of cases confirmed in the state to 14.
Department of Health officials at a news conference at the Capitol announced the new cases along with new community mitigation efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the illness that stems from the coronavirus.
Cases have been detected in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Stearns and Wright Counties, according to the Department of Health's website. And two of those have been hospitalized. In total, 555 people had been tested for the illness as of Friday.
Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency in Minnesota, saying it would open up options like calling on the National Guard in the event of continued spread of COVID-19. He likened the move to sign the executive order to opening a toolbox.
By Friday afternoon, the state said it wouldn't close down schools at this time.
Gov. Doug Burgum declared a state of emergency for North Dakota on Friday, March 13, in response to COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
Burgum's declaration comes just hours after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency that he said would give states and territories access to as much as $50 billion in federal funds to fight the spreading epidemic.
North Dakota's declaration means the state is in a position to access federal funds more easily and can waive certain regulations to better respond to the spread of the virus, Burgum said. The declaration also allows for the activation of the North Dakota National Guard to respond if a more extreme outbreak occurs.
Burgum and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler also announced Friday that public K-12 schools in the state will remain open because the state is "making decisions based on facts, not fear."
Around the region
Wisconsin schools will be closed beginning Wednesday, March 18, until an anticipated reopening on April 6.
Minnesota business leaders are headed into uncertainty this weekend as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections continues to climb.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is warning residents to be wary of scammers looking to take advantage as the coronavirus pandemic spreads into the state. Among his recommendations are Minnesotans should stay away from fake coronavirus test kits or "miracle" drugs.
All federal criminal and civil trials, as well as grand juries and attorney admission ceremonies, in Minnesota are suspended until April 27, effective immediately.
Minnesotans are officially asked not to gather in groups of 250 or larger and utilize social-distancing.
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities should restrict outside visitors to protect residents from the spread of coronavirus, according to the North Dakota Department of Health..
Free testing for coronavirus is available for all South Dakotans, health system leaders and state officials said.
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