South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem extended and toughened the language of social distancing guidelines and told high-risk residents in two of the state's hardest-hit counties to stay home, as its coronavirus death toll rose to four, Monday, April 6.
But Noem dismissed a letter from more than 150 state and local government leaders in South Dakota asking her to approve a public health emergency declaration, saying the state Legislature hadn't granted her the authority she needed to do so.
Local leaders and Noem have been at odds over her direction for the state amid the growing spread of the virus, with local leaders looking for guidance as they implement a patchwork of ordinances limiting businesses and gatherings.
The leaders' letter say they're working with untested and cumbersome rules for responding to the coronavirus. They included a draft declaration and executive order for Noem to consider.
State officials on Monday said the two who died were in Beadle and Minnehaha counties, but they refused to release additional information, citing privacy concerns.
The Minnesota Department of Health reported another 51 cases and one death from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the state total to 30 deaths.
A 98-year-old resident of an assisted living facility in Ramsey County died as a result of COVID-19, the illness cause by coronavirus. Redwood and Murray counties both added cases for the first time, and intensive care unit use jumped by nine cases to 57.
State health commissioner Jan Malcomb reiterated that N95 masks should be reserved for health care workers and that social distancing remains to be the best practice for the public to avoid the coronavirus.
According to state data, 68.4% of tests have been completed by external laboratories.
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum confirmed a fourth death in the state from COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.
Burgum said Monday, April 6, an Emmons County man in his 70s who had underlying health issues died earlier in the day. The man contracted the virus via community spread, meaning the source is unknown.
The only confirmed case in Emmons County, which lies in the south-central part of the state, was announced Sunday as a man in his 70s.
Earlier in the day, the state Department of Health announced 18 new cases of COVID-19.
Most of the new cases Monday came from Cass County, which now has by far the most cases of any county in the state. The 11 new cases in Cass County, which includes Fargo and West Fargo, bring the county's total up to 65 — nearly 30% of the state's total.
Burgum said that considering positive tests to population size ratios, Stark and Mountrail counties are being closely monitored as hotspots for COVID-19 in the state.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday, April 6, struck down an executive order by Gov. Tony Evers postponing in-person voting for tomorrow's spring election and presidential preference primary, multiple Madison-area news organizations reported.
Earlier, Evers signed an executive order suspending in-person voting in Tuesday's spring election and presidential preference primary to June in response to health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, Wisconsin reported its 2,440th case with 77 deaths.
Around the region
There are 32 long-term care facilities in Minnesota, with 22 of them in the Twin Cities metro area, which have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, the state health department said.
A Kaiser Health News story reported that as more data comes in from China and Italy, as well as Washington state and New York, more cardiac experts are coming to believe the COVID-19 virus can infect the heart muscle. An initial study found cardiac damage in as many as 1 in 5 patients, leading to heart failure and death even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress.
Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland has heard rumors of house parties and gatherings of more than 10 people in they city. He also said the city is fielding calls from residents concerned about neighbors who are not adhering to social distancing standards.
West Acres shopping mall in Fargo, now closed for nearly three weeks, still has some essential businesses open, among them being Essentia Health and Best Buy. The mall has extended its closure until the end of April.
North Dakota has the third lowest rate in the country of positive cases at 3.1% of all tests performed, and about 8.9 out of 1,000 residents have been tested, the 10th highest proportion of any state.
Minnesota announced the creation of a Department of Human Rights hotline at (833) 454-0148 for persons who have experienced discrimination due the outbreak.
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