National Guard arrives to aid water-surrounded Oslo, Minn.
OSLO, Minn. — Rising water along the Red River has now cut off access to Oslo from both the North Dakota and Minnesota sides.
"Every year we live in Oslo, Minnesota, we seem to be the drain plug of the Red River Valley," said resident Todd Anvinson.
Access to Minnesota Highway 1 is now closed as water is rushing over the road. People in town have been preparing to hunker down at home for at least a week, but this year, the pandemic is also on their minds.
"I think this year, with the pandemic, people were already at home," Anvinson said. "It's kind of a whole different dynamic with ... coronavirus ... and then with a flood we've got our own self-quarantine."
On Tuesday, April 7, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the state National Guard for deployment to Marshall County to aid the area.
The guard arrived on Wednesday and about 15 soldiers are in charge of patrolling the levees and helping to get supplies for the town.
Olso residents are also concerned about how a flood during a pandemic could affect the businesses they rely on.
"When you're closed off from the rest of the world, it's tough on a small town with whatever goes on, but it adds to the troubles for the small businesses," Anvinson said.
The Minnesota National Guard plans to remain in Oslo for at least a week until the water recedes and roads can open back up.
National Guard soldiers in Oslo are taking extra precautions because of the pandemic. On top of using hand sanitizer and maintaining at least a 6-foot distance when possible, they're also wearing neck gaiters — a type of fabric face covering — when interacting with the public.
"We're going to try and do our best in order to protect ourselves and to protect others in the community," said Second Lieutenant Mitchel Crothers.