1. What Walz's stay-at-home order means for Minnesota
Gov. Tim Walz took steps to further curtail social activity and limit the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday, March 25, by ordering Minnesotans to stay inside their homes and not leave unless necessary.
Walz made details of his stay-at-home executive order public on Wednesday afternoon as cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, continue to be confirmed amid the global pandemic. Earlier in the day, the state Department of Health reported an updated case count of 287.
The order forbids Minnesotans, many of whom are already confined to their homes because of the pandemic, from venturing outside with several exceptions. A separate executive order signed Wednesday extends the closure of bars, restaurants and other types of small businesses until May 1, though food service providers will still be allowed to maintain their takeout and delivery options.
2. Burgum urges residents to look at coronavirus with flood prep mindset
The North Dakota Department of Health confirmed six new positive tests for coronavirus Wednesday afternoon, March 25. The state now has 45 known cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Gov. Doug Burgum said at press conference Wednesday two Cass County men in their 50s, a Cass County woman in her 50s, a Ramsey County woman in her 70s and two Stark County women, one in her 30s and the other in her 60s. The Ramsey and Stark county cases were identified by the department as community transmission, while the sources of the other cases are still under investigation.
The two positive tests in Stark County, which contains Dickinson, are the western county's first. Cass County now has the third most cases in the state with six.
3. Gun permit applications surge amid safety concerns during coronavirus pandemic
From the St. Paul Pioneer Press via Forum News Service
Gun permit applications surged in St. Paul this month after Gov. Tim Walz announced emergency measures to control the spread of coronavirus.
During the week of March 16, as schools closed and group gatherings curtailed, city police received 153 applications to buy a handgun. That’s roughly six times the weekly average from the first two months of the year.
Joseph Olson, a Roseville resident who is president of the Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said he believes people are getting guns for protection in their homes.
“I think people are worried about shortages,” Olson said Wednesday, March 25. “They’re worried about America running out of food, they’re worried about people who haven’t planned ahead coming and harming them, especially when the police have announced they’re not going to be making arrests for minor offenses.”
4. How well are we social distancing? This company gives Minnesota an A, while North Dakota gets a B
Smartphones across the country are offering clues of whether or not people are heeding calls to stay home and avoid gatherings to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
A New York-based company called Unacast examined cellphone GPS location data from each county and state to see whether people are traveling less. Minnesota earned an A, and the Dakotas both got a B for how well residents have adjusted their behavior for the sake of public health.
In its report card, the company assigned grades to counties and states based on how much residents recently changed their movements compared to what's normal for a given day.
5. How to explain the coronavirus to kids and manage their stress
Since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 virus a pandemic during late January, parents have had to deal with canceled programs, closed schools, and reduced childcare services
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, state governors have closed all public schools in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota during early March. In fact, Gov. Burgum also announced last week the state's 175 public and private school districts will remain closed indefinitely in an effort to increase "social distancing" by limiting situations where the virus can spread easily among people.
Parents adjust to their new work schedules while their kids try to make sense of the sudden change to their routines. Finding the time (or energy) to explain the COVID-19 pandemic can cause parents to panic or give in to their urge to binge-watch Netflix with our kids.