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5 things to know today: Minnesota Disaster assistance, 'Stay home', Retired nurses, Isle of Oslo, ND growth

Gov. Tim Walz on Friday, March 20, 2020, spoke with reporters in St. Paul about the number of Minnesotans with COVID-19 and the state's response efforts aimed at limiting the disease's spread. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

1. Trump grants Minnesota's emergency request for COVID-19 resources

President Donald Trump has approved the state of Minnesota's request for federal disaster assistance amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump's Tuesday, April 7 approval comes two days after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requested federal assistance, saying that the state "responded quickly to this public health disaster and continues to do so to the fullest extent possible,” but “the state’s ability to respond to and recover from this event will be severely impacted" without federal help.

As of Tuesday, 1,069 Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus. Thirty-four Minnesotans have died from the illness and 64 are hospitalized in intensive care units.

Read more from Forum News Service's Sarah Mearhoff

2. Fargo mayor issues 'stay home' directive, says large public gatherings could result in fines


West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis issues a stay-home directive with Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney on Tuesday, April 7, at Fargo City Hall. Dardis said wearing a face mask and gloves is “challenging for me” but that it's necessary to help protect his family. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

As cases of COVID-19 have continued to rise in Cass County, the mayors of Fargo and West Fargo signed directives Tuesday, April 7, asking residents to stay home and comply with public health guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“This is not a never-leave-your-house order," Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said during a news conference at City Hall. "I’m charging each of you to be North Dakota smart.”

In an interview later, Mahoney said Fargo's directive has teeth, and works similarly to noise ordinance laws. Those who do not comply can face fines by police, he said.

Read more from The Forum's C.S. Hagen

3. Inactive, retired nurses eligible for limited licenses to help with coronavirus crisis in North Dakota

Photo: Pixabay

The North Dakota Board of Nursing has taken steps to allow nurses who are inactive or retired to return to the bedside to help with the surge of patients expected from the coronavirus pandemic.


The board is suspending a requirement that nurses must have completed 400 hours of nursing within the past four years and 12 hours of continuing education.

In its place, using authority under the Nurse Practices Act and the state’s administrative code, inactive or retired nurses can complete 120 hours of “refresher course” supervised nursing to obtain a limited license.

Read more from The Forum's Patrick Springer

4. Minnesota National Guard to be sent to Oslo

Morning fog in Grand Forks

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz will be signing an executive order to active the Minnesota National Guard in Marshall County.

It will be the second year in a row in which the National Guard will be spending Easter Sunday in Oslo, due to flooding.

"Flooding on the Red River has turned the town into an island," said Joe Kelly, director of homeland security and emergency management in Minnesota.


With water cutting off access points to the town, Oslo Mayor Erika Martens said that on a normal year their greatest concern would be the impact to local businesses, but the public health crisis has already caused many of those businesses to close.

Read more from Forum News Service's Hannah Shirley

5. With a boost from oil, North Dakota's population growth was among top 10 in 2010s

Oil well.jpg
Forum News Service file photo

An oil boom that drew thousands of workers to North Dakota helped it break the top 10 list for fastest growing states over the past decade, according to the U.S. Census.

Data sets released Monday, April 6, revealed the Peace Garden state added an estimated 89,486 residents from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2019, making North Dakota the eighth fastest growing state in the U.S. Overall, the state grew by 13% and had a 2019 estimated population of 762,062, the Census said.

That growth was twice as fast as the nation, which only grew by 6.3% during that time. The U.S. gained an estimated 19.5 million people in the 2010s, bringing the 2019 total estimate to 328.2 million.

Read more from The Forum's April Baumgarten

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