Coronavirus

Judge Stops Minnesota Hospital From Disconnecting Ventilator

(courtesy: Fox 9) COON RAPIDS, Minn. (AP) – A man who has been suffering from a severe case of COVID-19 and was being kept alive by a ventilator has been moved from a Minnesota hospital to a Texas facility after a judge issued a restraining order stopping the hospital from turning off his machine. Fifty-five-year-old Scott Quiner, of Buffalo, was…

COVID Cases, Staff Shortages Could Shift Duluth Schools to Distance Learning ‘with little notice’

The district considers three key variables as criteria for determining the need to move to distance learning at a single school, an entire level, or for the entire district.

DULUTH, Minn.- As COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the region, officials with Duluth ISD 709 shared the factors needed to keep learning in person, warning that a switch to virtual could happen fast. According to a press release sent out by Superintendent John Magas Friday, experts the district is consulting with forecasted that there will be “significant improvement” to…

Hospitals in Carlton County Meet to ‘Crisis Plan’ as COVID Continues Surging

Crisis planning is to prepare the hospitals, and make a course of action in case they become overwhelmed and have to send patients elsewhere.

CLOQUET, Minn. — Doctors from the Community Memorial Hospital met on Thursday to “crisis plan”, concerned that the latest surge of the Omicron variant might overwhelm medical facilities. Crisis planning is to prepare the hospitals, and make a course of action in case they become overwhelmed and have to send patients elsewhere. But with so many medical facilities bogged down…

St. Luke’s Updates Visitor Policy

DULUTH, Minn. – St. Luke’s is updating its visitor policy once again due to the high community spread of COVID-19. Effective Monday, the hospital will be requiring visitors of inpatients, surgical/procedural care, and the Emergency Department to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their visit. To view the current visitor policy, click here….

Mayor Larson Announces 30-Day Mask Mandate

DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Mayor Emily Larson on Thursday announced at a City Hall press conference that she is putting a 30-day mask mandate in place effective Friday at 5:00 p.m. The mask mandate will last through 5:00 p.m. on February 12. “The City has spent the last two days rewriting this proclamation and declaration,” Mayor Emily Larson said. “I…

National Guard to Staff Wisconsin Hospitals, Nursing Homes

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin National Guard troops will help fill staffing shortages at the state’s hospitals and nursing homes over the coming weeks due to a surge in COVID-19 patients, Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday. The governor said troops are being trained as certified nursing assistants. About 50 soldiers were deployed to six nursing homes during the past week….

Supreme Court Halts COVID-19 Vaccine Rule for US Businesses

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court has stopped the Biden administration from enforcing a requirement that employees at large businesses be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing and wear a mask on the job. At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The…

Minneapolis Schools Move Instruction Online as Virus Surges

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minneapolis Public Schools will pivot to online instruction for two weeks because the coronavirus has significantly reduced the number of school staff available for in-person learning. Virtual education will begin Friday with students returning to the classroom on Jan. 31. Minneapolis joins a growing list of school districts planning to move to distance learning, including Osseo, Prior…

Douglas County Public Health Reports Rapid Rise in New COVID-19 Infections

In the Past 30 Days, 11 Residents Have Been Hospitalized with COVID-19 in Douglas County

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Douglas County Public Health is reporting a steady rise in new COVID-19 cases, with reports coming from PCR and rapid testing. Throughout the month of December, the health department reported 439 cases. In the first two weeks of 2022, the department has reported 349 new cases. Officials say the virus is spreading throughout all ages, however, more…

All Superior Students Required To Mask Up Again Wednesday

According to the Superintendent, going back to masking is the best way to get ahead of the spread and go back to the low transmission they saw from September to December.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Starting Wednesday, masks are back for everyone in Superior Schools — less than a week after making masks optional when cases were low enough among students and staff. But that’s not the case anymore, and Superintendent Amy Starzecki said this change could happen, basing it all on the numbers. It may seem like a quick turnaround, but Starzecki…

Governor Walz Launches ‘Kids Deserve a Shot’ Vaccine Incentive Program for Kids 5-11

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Walz on Tuesday announced the launch of the next phase of the ‘Kids Deserve a Shot’ vaccine incentive program to encourage Minnesota families to get their kids 5- to 11-years-old fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In a press release from the governor’s office, the Walz-Flanagan Administration said it is committed to providing the resources necessary to…

Pfizer: Omicron-specific COVID-19 Vaccine Human Trials To Begin Late January

(FOX 9) – Pfizer will begin human trials of an omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine beginning in late January, a company spokesperson confirmed Monday to FOX TV Stations. “We already have begun work on a DNA template tailored to the sequence of Omicron, a critical step in the process of advancing a variant version of our vaccine if in fact, we find…

Home COVID Tests To Be Covered by Insurers Starting Saturday

(AP Photo/David Dermer, File) WASHINGTON (AP) – Starting Saturday, private health insurers will be required to cover up to eight home COVID-19 tests per month for those on their plans. The Biden administration announced the change Monday as it looks to lower costs and makes testing for the virus more convenient amid rising frustrations. Under the new policy, first detailed…

Minnesota Sees Declining COVID-19 Intensive Care Rate

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota health officials looking for a silver lining in the spread of the coronavirus omicron variant say they hope it can be found in declining intensive care hospitalizations for COVID-19. That number fell from 374 in mid-December to 255 on Friday. The decline temporarily eases pressure on hospitals as they brace for the wave of omicron infections. Despite…

Council to Vote on New Emergency Mask Mandate Monday

DULUTH, Minn. — A second city wide Duluth mask mandate will be front and center for a vote at Monday night’s first city council meeting of 2022, with a hot topic to start the new year for sure. If Thursday night’s tense agenda session says anything about the mask mandate topic, this proposed emergency declaration isn’t going to be a…

Minnesota Virus Positivity Rate Reaches 15.6% In New Record

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota’s COVID-19 positivity rate over the past seven days reached 15.6% on Friday, in an indication of the rapid spread of the omicron variant across the state. State health officials said the figure demonstrates the increasing spread of the omicron variant and expect a new surge of case growth for at least the next month. Minnesota’s previous…

Minnesota Virus Positivity Rate Reaches 15.6% In New Record

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s COVID-19 positivity rate over the past seven days reached 15.6% on Friday, emphasizing the rapid spread of the omicron variant across the state. State health officials have said they expect a new surge of case growth for at least the next month. The Star Tribune reported that Minnesota’s previous positivity rate record came early in the…

Hospitalizations Skyrocket in Kids Too Young for COVID Shots

(AP Photo/Steven Senne) (AP) – Hospitalizations in U.S. children under age 5 with COVID have soared dramatically to unprecedented levels, a worrisome trend in youngsters too young to be vaccinated. That’s according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data released Friday. Since early December, as the highly contagious omicron variant has spread furiously around the country, the hospitalization rate…

Duluth City Councilors Have Tense First Debate About New Mask Mandate

DULUTH, Minn. – The mask mandate debate is firing back up in Duluth and being fueled by Councilor Terese Tomanek.  But the push for a mandate was not received well Thursday evening at the agenda session by the majority of the council after some felt surprised by the topic, which wasn’t on the list of items to discuss ahead of…

Grammys Postpone Ceremony, Citing Omicron Variant Risks

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The upcoming Grammy Awards have been postponed due to what organizers called “too many risks” from the omicron variant. The ceremony had been scheduled for Jan. 31st in Los Angeles with a live audience and performances. The Recording Academy said Wednesday it made the decision “after careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health…

New Minnesota COVID-19 Testing Sites Start Opening Friday

ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s newest COVID-19 community testing site will open at the National Guard Armory in Anoka on Friday, Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday, while the Guard will help raise the capacity of a similar site in downtown St. Paul by 50%. The moves to boost the state’s testing capacity amid the spike in omicron variant cases are…

Minnesota AG Ellison Quarantining Outside US With COVID-19

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison says he’s quarantining outside the country after testing positive for COVID-19. In a statement Wednesday night, Ellison said he was experiencing only mild symptoms thanks to having been vaccinated and boosted. He said he was isolating himself in place and will travel home when it is safe while conducting business…

Mask Mandates Return To Twin Cities; No Plans In Motion For Twin Ports

Duluth and Superior mayors told FOX 21 Wednesday there are no immediate plans to bring back a mask mandate for their cities after Minneapolis and St. Paul both announced indoor mask mandates returning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6. Duluth Mayor Emily Larson’s office released the following statement: “The City is tracking the infection and spread of COVID-19 in Duluth,…

Minneapolis, St. Paul Reinstate Indoor Mask Mandates

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – Minneapolis and St. Paul reinstated indoor mask mandates Wednesday as the state grapples with a surge in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed an emergency regulation reinstating the city-wide mask policy, which requires patrons, employees, and visitors to wear a mask in businesses and places of public accommodation. St. Paul…

Walz Announces More COVID-19 Testing Sites as Omicron Surges

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz has announced plans to open three more community testing sites for COVID-19 as the rapid spread of the omicron variant puts new strains on Minnesota’s testing capacity. According to updated figures Tuesday, Minnesota is coming off its deadliest month of the pandemic for 2021, with 874 deaths in December. The state’s seven-day test positivity…

CDC Signs off on Pfizer Extra Dose Measures

NEW YORK (AP) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed off on two measures to increase access to additional doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. The CDC on Tuesday recommended shortening the recommended interval of time between when people who had an initial series of Pfizer vaccinations and when they receive a Pfizer booster shot, from six…

Duluth Schools Superintendent on Returning to School In-Person Amid Post-Holidays COVID Surge

According to the superintendent, the mask requirement on campuses that started at the beginning of the school year will remain in effect.

DULUTH, Minn.- As the omicron variant fuels a surge of COVID cases nationwide the day kids return to schools after the holidays, Duluth ISD 709 superintendent John Magas said the plan is to continue in-person learning with a heavy dose of caution. “We certainly need to take it very seriously we’re doing everything possible to make sure we’re ensuring safety…

Walz Expects COVID-19 Case Spike as Minnesota Schools Reopen

Walz told Minnesota Public Radio on Monday that school administrators across the state are right to be concerned.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Gov. Tim Walz says coronavirus cases due to the fast-spreading omicron variant will most likely race through Minnesota’s public schools in the next few weeks now that students are back in class. Walz told Minnesota Public Radio on Monday that school administrators across the state are right to be concerned. He noted that modeling by the Mayo…

FDA Expands Pfizer Boosters for More Teens as Omicron Surges

UNDATED (AP) -The U.S. is expanding COVID-19 boosters as it confronts the omicron surge. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday allowed extra Pfizer shots for children as young as 12. Boosters already are recommended for everyone 16 and older, and the FDA says they’re also warranted for 12- to 15-year-olds. The FDA also said everyone eligible for a Pfizer…

Milwaukee Schools Going Virtual Due to Staff COVID-19 Cases

MILWAUKEE (AP) – Wisconsin’s largest school district will transition to virtual instruction beginning Tuesday because of an increase in staff testing positive for COVID-19. Milwaukee public schools were scheduled to resume in-person learning Tuesday, but because of an influx of reported positive COVID-19 cases among district staff, the emergency safety measure is being implemented. The district says its goal is…

Wisconsin Tops 10,000 COVID-19 Deaths

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Wisconsin residents. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that state health officials counted 34 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the death total since the pandemic began to 10,014. The state tracked 5,748 COVID-19 deaths last year and 4,266 so far in 2021. Nearly three-quarters of people who died…

Michigan Urges Schools to Delay or Make Large Events Remote

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan’s health and education departments are urging schools to postpone or make virtual large gatherings, including sporting events if they are not “essential” – as COVID-19 cases spike across the state. The recommendation is intended to keep schools open when classes resume after the winter break next week. It was included in a letter to K-12…

MN Nurses Association Voices Displeasure Over New COVID-19 Guidelines

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KVRR) – The head of the Minnesota Nurses Association is ripping new CDC guidelines that shorten the recommended COVID-19 quarantine periods. Under the new recommendations, vaccinated health care workers who are exposed no longer must isolate. M-N-A president Mary Turner called the new policy a “disaster.” Turner said,” It may be good for businesses’ bottom lines to…

Grim Milestone: Minnesota Tops One Million COVID Cases Since March of 2020

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Minnesota has topped a million cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began in March of 2020. The state Department of Health confirmed 4,155 new cases, lifting the total number of infections to 1,000,361. The figures released Monday do not include cases from the holiday weekend, which are expected to be updated Tuesday. Minnesota’s case count includes…

CDC Recommends Shorter COVID Isolation, Quarantine For All

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. health officials are cutting isolation restrictions for Americans who test positive for the coronavirus and shortening the time that close contacts have to quarantine. People with the virus can leave isolation after five days, down from 10 days. People exposed to the virus can also leave quarantine after five days. The Centers for Disease Control…

US Adds Merck Pill as 2nd Easy-to-Use Drug Against COVID-19

(Merck & Co. via AP) WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. regulators have authorized a second pill against COVID-19, an antiviral drug from Merck that may help blunt the wave of infections driven by the omicron variant. The Food and Drug Administration granted the drug emergency use Thursday for adults with early COVID-19 who face the highest risks of hospitalization. It comes…

Gov. Walz Tests Positive for COVID-19

(courtesy: Fox 9) ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday announced he has tested positive for COVID-19 along with his wife and son. A statement released from his office this morning reads: “Yesterday, my 9th grade son tested positive for COVID-19. Gwen and I were both tested that same day, and after initially testing negative yesterday morning, last…

Biden to Pledge 500M Free COVID-19 Tests to Counter Omicron

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden plans to deliver 500 million free COVID-19 tests to Americans, increase support for hospitals and expand the availability of vaccines to confront a winter surge of coronavirus cases driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant. Biden will stress in a Tuesday speech the importance of getting vaccinated to protect from a wave of infections as…

Wisconsin Health Officials Concerned For COVID Surge Caused By Holidays, Omicron

96% of ICU beds and 98% of immediate care beds are full statewide.

WISCONSIN – State health officials in Wisconsin echo the desperate pleas of those regionally and across the country, declaring a public health advisory as they anticipate a surge in disease activity due to the Omicron variant. There were more than 13 hundred new COVID cases reported in the state yesterday, with 19 Omicron cases detected so far. Experts expect that…

Omicron Sweeps Across Nation, Now 73% Of US COVID-19 Cases

NEW YORK (AP) – Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S. Federal health officials said Monday that omicron accounted for an estimated 73% of new infections last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show nearly a six-fold increase in the proportion of infections in only…

With Christmas in the Balance, Nations Eye UK Omicron Surge

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s main nurses’ union has warned that exhaustion and surging coronavirus cases among medical staff are pushing them to the breaking point. That is adding to pressure on the government for new restrictions to curb record numbers of infections driven by the omicron variant. The warning Monday throws into stark relief the unpalatable choice Prime Minister Boris…

OSHA Vaccine Mandate Penalties to Start Jan. 10

The federal agency separately says there will be no citations of companies regarding its testing requirements before Feb. 9.

UNDATED (AP)- The Occupational Health and Safety Administration says it will not issue citations tied to its coronavirus vaccination mandate before Jan. 10. This will give companies time to adjust to and implement the requirements. The federal agency separately says there will be no citations of companies regarding its testing requirements before Feb. 9. Saturday’s announcement came after the U.S….

UWS Vaccine Clinic to Move to Northwood Technical College

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The COVID community-based vaccine clinic currently being held at UW-Superior will soon be moving to the conference center at Northwood Technical College’s Superior Campus, formerly WITC. “We are proud to have had our campus serve as the site for these services,” said University of Wisconsin-Superior Chancellor Renée Wachter. “Since the clinic opened on April 13, there have…

Surgery Delays Grow at Hospitals Dealing With COVID-19

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health care systems say surgery delays are growing as coronavirus patients crowd hospitals. Doctors say hospitals have deferred procedures to free up beds, leaving some patients in prolonged pain. Patient demand over the past month has been the highest in the 21 months of the pandemic, according to health care providers. “I’m not sure the public…

US COVID Death Toll Hits 800,000, a Year Into Vaccine Drive

(AP) – The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has topped 800,000. That is according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The once-unimaginable milestone was hit Tuesday. It’s seen as doubly tragic, given that more than 200,000 of those lives were lost after the vaccine became available practically for the asking last spring. The death toll is about equal…

Data Indicate Omicron Is Milder, Better at Evading Vaccines

JOHANNESBURG (AP) – An analysis of data from South Africa shows the omicron variant appears to cause less severe disease than previous versions of the coronavirus, and the Pfizer vaccine seems to offer less defense against infection from it but still good protection against hospitalization. While the findings are preliminary and have not been peer-reviewed, they line up with other…

As COVID-19 Surges, Minnesota Health System CEOs Make Public Appeal

DULUTH, Minn. – In a Monday news release, CEOs from nine Minnesota health systems have come together in an appeal to the public, asking them to help the state’s overwhelmed health care system. You can read the full news release below: As COVID-19 continues to surge, leaders have taken out a full-page ad in major newspapers across the state this…