The North Dakota Department of Health confirmed four more known cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, on Tuesday, March 17.

Two new cases announced Tuesday afternoon are a Cass County woman in her 20s and a Ward County man in his 60s. The department announced two more cases Tuesday night from Burleigh County — a man in his 50s and a woman in her 20s. All of the people had "a history of travel to impacted areas."

Public health investigations continue in both cases, but State Health Officer Mylynn Tufte said one of the people had recently returned from Germany.

The announcements of the new cases mean the state now has five confirmed cases of the disease that has caused a global health crisis.

Minnesota

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The Minnesota Health Department released new figures on Tuesday, March 17, showing six more people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the state, raising the total to 60 cases.

No new counties were included in the new cases, all of whom are recovering at home, and all of whom are believed to have contracted the illness from people they met on international travel or out of state.

Two of the cases were located in Hennepin County, two in Olmsted County, one in Dakota County and one in Ramsey County. They ranged in age from 37 to 71. The news came as the state and even private testing entities are running out of necessary materials to utilize test kits.

State lawmakers also approved a $200 million emergency funding plan for health care providers in the state preparing to deal with the coronavirus.

South Dakota

South Dakota public schools should remain closed through next week, Gov. Kristi Noem said Tuesday, March 17, as she confirmed testing had uncovered an 11th case of coronavirus in the state.

"That is to allow us time to make sure we have adequate laboratory testing and supplies for whatever may come our direction," said Noem, after a meeting with health system leaders in Sioux Falls.

The move extends the closures of the state's K-12 schools into a second week. It is the most dramatic step South Dakota has taken to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic into the state.

The new coronavirus case, a woman in her 50s, is the fifth case from Minnehaha County. She had a history of travel outside the state, confirmed Kim Malsam-Rysdon, secretary of the state Department of Health.

Around the region

  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced the closure of all restaurants and bars in Wisconsin except for takeout and delivery during a media briefing Tuesday. He also signed an order to prohibit most gatherings of 10 or more people in the state, which has 72 positive tests for the coronavirus.

  • Faced with the loss of jobs and working hours, Minnesotans have already begun to apply for unemployment benefits en masse as bars and restaurants close across the state.

  • The spread of coronavirus has hit agriculture markets hard, especially livestock sectors that fear weak demand as restaurants close in response to the pandemic. On Monday, live cattle, feeder cattle and lean hog futures all hit new contract lows and many contracts closed limit down under expanded limits.

  • The Mall of America announced it will be closed until March 31.
  • Out of toilet paper? St. Paul officials are urging residents not to flush other substitutes down the toilet, such as paper towels, napkins or diapers, to keep from clogging the sewer system.
  • The Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage. Nearly 2,700 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled across the country, which has resulted in about 86,000 fewer blood donations.

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