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COVID-19 Updates

State Numbers Show COVID Numbers Rise in All Area Countys

5-29-20

State of Minnesota Reports 6 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County, 23 for Mower.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has 108 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 6 from Thursday. Of the new cases, one person is under the age of 10, three people are in their 30's, one in their 50's and one in their 70's. The total hospitalized is now at 10 with 4 being currently hospitalized. At this time 74 people are out of isolation and recovering from their illness.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 254 cases, up 23 and 1 total death. Faribault had 15, up 2. Waseca County with 26, up 1. Steele reported 151, up 2, and Olmsted County topped the area with 594, up 12, and 10 total deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 23,531 positive cases, up 590 from yesterday, and 996 deaths, up 29 since yesterday. Over 233,873 tests have been conducted. 16,930 of the 23,531 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Community, (known contact with confirmed case), is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Freeborn County Adds 5 New COVID Positives, Mower 15

5-28-20

State of Minnesota Reports 5 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County, 15 for Mower.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has 102 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 5 from Wednesday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 231 cases, up 15 and 1 total death. Faribault had 13, unchanged. Waseca County with 25, up 1. Steele reported 149, up 1, and Olmsted County topped the area with 582, up 7, and 10 total deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 22,947 positive cases, up 438 from yesterday, and 967 deaths, up 35 since yesterday. Over 225,208 tests have been conducted. 16,655 of the 22,947 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Community, (known contact with confirmed case), is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

FMCS Presses On in the Face of COVID-19

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Jim Kruger, President and CEO of Freeborn Mower Cooperative has been weathering the storm. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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State Reports No New COVID Cases for Freeborn County

5-27-20

State of Minnesota Reports 0 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County, 10 for Mower.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has 97 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is unchanged from Tuesday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 216 cases, up 10 and 1 total death. Faribault had 13, unchanged. Waseca County with 24, unchanged. Steele reported 148, up 4, and Olmsted County topped the area with 575, up 5, and 10 total deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 22,464 positive cases, up 504 from yesterday, and 932 deaths, up 33 since yesterday. Over 216,532 tests have been conducted. 16,314 of the 22,464 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Community, (known contact with confirmed case), is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Freeborn and Mower COVID Numbers Rise Again

5-26-20

State of Minnesota Reports 4 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County, 17 for Mower.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has 97 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 4 from Monday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 206 cases, up 17 and 1 total death. Faribault had 13, up 1. Waseca County with 24, down 1. Steele reported 144, up 3, and Olmsted County topped the area with 570, up 8, and 10 total deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 21,960 cases, up 645 from yesterday, and 899 deaths, up 18 since yesterday. Over 209,898 tests have been conducted. 15,523 of the 21,960 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

State of Minnesota Reports 3 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County, 25 for Mower

5-22-20

State of Minnesota Reports 3 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County, 25 for Mower.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has 76 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 3 from Thursday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 112 cases, up 25 and 1 total death. Faribault had 11, unchanged. Waseca County with 23, up 1. Steele reported 134, up 12, and Olmsted County topped the area with 525, up 32, and 10 total deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 19,005 cases, up 805 from yesterday, and 842 deaths, up 33 since yesterday. Over 180,971 tests have been conducted. 12,696 of the 19,005 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Between Friends Boutique Happy to Restart Business

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Becky Johnson, owner of Between Friends Boutique in Albert Lea, has been weathering the storm. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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State Reports 5 New COVID Cases in Freeborn County

State of Minnesota Reports 5 Additional COVID-19 Cases for Freeborn County.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has 73 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 5 from Wednesday. One person is under the age of 10, three people are in their 20's, and 1 is in their 50's. Of the total cases in Freeborn County, 7 total have been hospitalized some time during their illness.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 87 cases, up 9 and 1 total death. Faribault had 11, up 1. Waseca County with 22, unchanged. Steele reported 122, up 6, and Olmsted County topped the area with 493, up 5, and 10 total deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 18,200 cases, up 530 from yesterday, and 809 deaths, up 32 since yesterday. Over 173,556 tests have been conducted. 12,488 of the 18,200 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

130 Year Old Albert Lea Retail Business Aims for 131

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Linda Knutson, owner of Plymouth Shoes in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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New Albert Lea Boutique Ready to Serve

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Kelli Steele, owner of Ellen and Jane Boutique in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports Rise in COVID Cases

Freeborn County Reports Additional COVID-19 Cases.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 63 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 2 from Monday. One person is in their 20s, 1 in their 30s and 1 in their 40s. There was one that was listed yesterday that belonged to another county, so that one has been removed from the list making the total case count 63. The total out of isolation remains at 28. Of the total cases in Freeborn County, 6 have been hospitalized some time during their illness.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 72 cases, up 7. Faribault had 11, up 1. Waseca County with 21, up 1. Steele reported 115, up 4, and Olmsted County topped the area with 461, up 18, and 10 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 17,029 cases, up 657 from yesterday, and 748 deaths, up 17 since yesterday. Over 161,835 tests have been conducted. 11,540 of the 17,029 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

3 New Cases of COVID-19 in Freeborn County

Freeborn County Reports 3 Additional COVID-19 Cases.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, The State of Minnesota reports that Freeborn County has 55 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 3 from Thursday. One person is in their 50s and the other person is in their 20s. Information is pending on the 3rd case. The total out of isolation remains at 28. When a person is out of isolation it is considered they are no longer contagious. Of the total cases in Freeborn County, 6 have been hospitalized some time during their illness.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 54 cases, up 4. Faribault had 12, up 3. Waseca County with 19, up 1. Steele reported 92, up 7, and Olmsted County topped the area with 417, up 18, and 9 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 14,240 cases, up 805 from yesterday, and 683 deaths, up 20 since yesterday. Over 134,669 tests have been conducted. 9,503 of the 14,240 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

5 New Cases of COVID-19 in Freeborn County

Freeborn County Reports 5 Additional COVID-19 Cases.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 52 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 5 from Wednesday. The 48th case is a person in their 30s, the 49th is a person under the age of 10, the 50th is a person between 10-20 years old, the 51st case is a person in their 40s, and the 52nd is a person in their 30s. The total out of isolation remains at 28. Of the total cases in Freeborn County, 6 have been hospitalized some time during their illness.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 50 cases, up 2. Faribault had 9, up 1. Waseca County with 18, unchanged. Steele reported 85, up 8, and Olmsted County topped the area with 399, up 14, and 9 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 13,435 cases, up 518 from yesterday, and 663 deaths, up 25 since yesterday. Over 128,752 tests have been conducted. 9,136 of the 13,435 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Daisy Blue Naturals CEO Fills Need During Pandemic

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Jena Thompson, CEO of Daisy Blue Naturals in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce Cancels July Activities

Late Friday afternoon, the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce announced that they have made the difficult decision to cancel this yearís July 3rd Parade and the July 4th Fireworks in Albert Lea. In a press release, the chamber says, "We made this decision in response to challenges presented by the COVID-19 virus. The safety of our members and our community is our top priority. In addition to safety, the larger response to the virus has reduced the availability of resources needed to present the parade and fireworks."

   

Area Natural Food Store Offers Local Wares

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Cassandra Owens, Board President, of Wintergreen Natural Foods in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Adds 2 to the COVID Count, Other Counties See Increases

Freeborn County Reports Two Additional COVID-19 Cases.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 41 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 2 from yesterday. The first case is a person in their 70's and the second is a person in their 20's.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 37 cases, up 1. Faribault had 7, unchanged. Waseca County with 13, up 6. Steele reported 45, up 8, and Olmsted County topped the area with 351, up 15, and 9 deaths, up 1.

In total, Minnesota reported 10,088 cases, up 723 from yesterday, and 534 deaths, up 26 since yesterday. Over 101,270 tests have been conducted. 5,697 of the 10,088 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Broadway Bike Company an Essential Business

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Dan Lestrud, owner of Broadway Bike Company in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Clarks Grove's Sonshine Gardens Reopens

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Michelle Peterson, owner of Sonshine Gardens in Clarks Grove is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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1 New COVID-19 Case Reported in Freeborn County

Freeborn County Reports 1 Additional COVID-19 Case.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 37 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 1 from yesterday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 33 cases, up 1. Faribault had 7, unchanged. Waseca County with 6, Steele reported 25, up 1, and Olmsted County topped the area with 305, up 8, and 8 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 7,851 cases, up 617 from yesterday, and 455 deaths, up 27 since yesterday. Over 88,009 tests have been conducted. 4,614 of the 7,851 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Midwest Antiques Offers Shopping Options

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Ryan Alitz of Midwest Antiques in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Adds 1 New Positive to COVID Count

Freeborn County Reports 1 Additional COVID-19 Case to Start the Week.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 36 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 1 from yesterday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 32 cases, up 4. Faribault had 7, up 1. Waseca County with 6, Steele reported 24, up 3, and Olmsted County topped the area with 293 305, up 12, and 8 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 7,234 cases, up 571 from yesterday, and 428 deaths, up 9 since yesterday. Over 85,941 tests have been conducted. 4,212 of the 7,234 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

The Pet Authority Remains Busy Inspite of Pandemic

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Michelle Nelson, owner of The Pet Authority in Albert Lea and Austin is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freebon County Adds 1 New COVID Case as State Reports 594 New Cases

Freeborn County Reports 1 Additional COVID-19 Case.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 35 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is up 1 from yesterday. That case is a person in their 60's.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 28 cases, Faribault had 5. Waseca County with 4, Steele reported 18, up 2, and Olmsted County topped the area with 269, up 4, and 8 deaths, up 2.

In total, Minnesota reported 5,730 cases, up 594 from yesterday, and 371 deaths, up 28 since yesterday. Over 74,829 tests have been conducted. 2,282 of the 5,730 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Plaza Landscape Keeps Busy During Pandemic

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Rachel, at Plaza Landscape and Garden Center is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports No Additional COVID-19 Cases Again

Freeborn County Reports 0 Additional COVID-19 Cases.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 34 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is unchanged from yesterday for the seond day in a row.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 28 cases, Faribault had 5. Waseca County with 4, Steele reported 16, up 1, and Olmsted County topped the area with 265, up 9, and 6 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 5,136 cases, up 492, and 343 deaths, up 24 since yesterday. Over 70,276 tests have been conducted. 2,172 of the 5,136 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

Freeborn County Reports No Additional COVID-19 Cases

Freeborn County Reports 0 Additional COVID-19 Cases.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has reported 34 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, that number is unchanged from yesterday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 28 cases, Faribault had 5, up 1. Waseca County with 4, up 1, Steele reported 15, up 1, and Olmsted County topped the area with 256, up 5, and 6 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 4,644 cases and 319 deaths, up 17 since yesterday. Over 66,744 tests have been conducted. 2,043 of the 4,644 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that Unknown or Missing is now the most likely source of transmission.

   

CVB Thursdays on Fountain Cancels Some Shows Due to Pandemic

Public entertainment has taken another hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thursdays on Fountain, the music event hosted by the Albert Lea Convention and Visitors Bureau and held at the Fountain Lake Gazebo, has announced that they are canceling the live music events for the months of May and June. Other months will be evaluated as they approach.

   

Karls Carquest Still Operating

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Chuck Karl, owner of Karl's Carquest is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Continues COVID-19 Positive Free Streak

Freeborn County Reports 0 Additional COVID-19 Cases for the 8th day in a row.

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 33 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, 23 of the 33 no longer need to be in isolation.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 28 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 14, and Olmsted County topped the area with 246, up 7, and 6 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 3,816 cases and 286 deaths, up 14 since yesterday. Over 61,268 tests have been conducted. 1,842 of the 3,816 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that congregate care appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

An Ellendale Family Owned Business is Still Serving Despite the Pandemic

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Jim Misgen, owner of Misgen Auto Parts is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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5 days of 0 COVID Positives Reported to Freeborn County

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases For 5th Day in a Row

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 33 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is unchanged from yesterday's total and unchanged since Monday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 28 cases, up 1, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 11, up 1, and Olmsted County topped the area with 219, up 6 from yesterday, and 6 deaths, up 1.

In total, Minnesota reported 3,185 cases, up 243, and 221 deaths, up 21. Over 53,787 tests have been conducted. 1,594 of the 3,185 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that congregate care (Resident/Staff) appears to be the most likely sources of transmission.

   

Wells Closes City Stake Park and Basketball Courts

After many complaints, the Wells Police Department has closed the city basketball courts and skate park by police order. Citing numerous violations of the Governors executive order, the department has closed the facilities. Wells PD also reminded residents that violations of the Governors order could result in a 1000 dollar fine and 90 days in jail. The department also thanked residents for their cooperation in trying to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

   

Ellendale Cancels City Celebration

The City of Ellendale has announced that they have officially canceled their annual city celebration. In a Facebook post, the board said that it is with great regret the the decision has been made to cancel Ellendale Days for 2020. The decision was made for the safety of everyone due to COVID-19. The board did announce that they are making plans for next year announcing a Save the Date, June 24th thru the 27th of 2021.

   

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases For 4th Day in a Row

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases For 4th Day in a Row

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 33 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is unchanged from yesterday's total and unchanged since Monday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 27 cases, unchanged, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 10, unchanged, and Olmsted County topped the area with 213, up 9 from yesterday, and 5 deaths, up 1.

In total, Minnesota reported 2,942 cases, up 221, and 200 deaths, up 21. Over 51,548 tests have been conducted. 1,536 of the 2,942 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that congregate care (Resident/Staff) appears to be the most likely sources of transmission.

   

Gretchen Bolt, owner of Hilltop Greenhouse Continues Business

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Gretchen Bolt, owner of Hilltop Greenhouse, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports 0 COVID Increases for 3rd Day

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 33 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is unchanged from yesterday's total and unchanged since Monday.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 27 cases, up 1, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 10, up 1, and Olmsted County topped the area with 204, up 6 from yesterday, and 4 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 2,721 cases, up 154 and 179 deaths, up 19. Over 49,344 tests have been conducted. 1,317 of the 2,721 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that congregate care (Resident/Staff) appears to be the most likely sources of transmission.

   

County Commissioners Have Big Decision Looming About County Fair

At yesterday's Freeborn County Commissioners meeting, County Administrator, Tom Jensen, advised the Freeborn County Commissioners to start thinking about area activities and possible restrictions and closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Freeborn County already has the 6th highest rate of infection in the state per capita, and there are pending activities that bring large crowds such as the Big Island BBQ and the Freeborn County Fair.

It was brought to the boards attention that the fairgrounds may need to be closed to public activities over public safety concerns. Jensen said in the meeting that events in July only have an unofficial 5% chance of happening and there is a speculative 30% chance for activities to happen in August at best.

The Fair Board has multiple entertainment contracts out for big name entertainers that carry a hefty fee with some, if not all of the money being non-refundable. The result could potentially bankrupt the Fair Board.

With Bridge Avenue being under construction for most of the summer, and the lack of potential social distancing possibilities, those factors could impact the attendance at the gate negatively.

Commissioners are weighing the possibility of closing the fairgrounds not only for the fair, but all public events.

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Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 33 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is unchanged from yesterday's total.

Freeborn County currently has the 6th highest rate of infection in the state.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 26 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 198, up 1 from yesterday, and 4 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 2,567 cases and 160 deaths. Over 47,697 tests have been conducted. 1,254 of the 2,567 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that congregate care (Resident/Staff) appears to be the most likely sources of transmission.

   

Green Lea Golf Course Opens With Some Changes

Power 96 News, Iím Ron Budrik.

The Ramsey County Medical examiner has identified the man killed in a shootout with police on the Minnesota River over the weekend.

Austin Dean Heights, 24, no permanent address, died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to a release.

On Saturday, Heights allegedly robbed a convenience store on Highway 169 in Mankato, then fled police on a raft on the Minnesota River.

Heights reportedly discharged a weapon at responding officers officers, who returned gunfire striking Heights multiple times.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is continuing to investigate the incident, and will release the names of the officers involved in the shooting when interviews are complete.

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Local Focus:

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Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Jeff Elseth, Manager at Green Lea Golf Course, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

The corona virus has effected everything from business, resturants, salons, elective surgery and even religion and social services. Even though things have changed in the business world, Jeff Elseth, Manager at Green Lea Golf Course is still conducting business albeit in a different way...

According to Jeff, the business model has changed as a result of the pandemic.

With the stay at home order still in place, Jeff and Green Lea is ready to provide a recreational opportunity although they have some restrictions .

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The coronavirus impact is having an effect on local business causing many changes in the business enviornment from resturants only doing pick up and delivery. From bars, tanning salons, nail salons and hair salons that are ghost towns of what they once were. Urban or rual the bans have an effect but resouces are available as we spoke to Phillip Johnson, Executive Director of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agengy.

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LOCAL

The Albert Lea School Board has announced that they have reaced a decision over the graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 seniors whos year has been tragically impacted by the efgfects of the world wide caronavirus pandemic. The board announced that Graduation ceremonies have been scheduled for Friday, July 24th. The board and staff is still hard at work ironing out the details which will be released once the planning stage is completed.

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Albert Lea Police are warning residents of yet another phone scam that is impacting the area. Police say that unknown scammers are calling residents and identifying themselves as a local law enforcememnt official and informing them that they have missed a court apperance and are requesting that the residents pay a fine, however, instead of traditional payment methods such as debit or credit cards, the scammers are asking that payment be made using gift cards.

Police officials say that they would never call a resident over a missed court apperance, nor would they ever ask for money. Officials say that should you actually miss a court date, a warrant would be isssued for your arrest, or police would make a home visit. No money will ever be exchanged and there will be no phone calls.

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Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 33 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is unchanged from yesterday's total.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 26 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 198, up 1 from yesterday, and 4 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 2,567 cases and 160 deaths. Over 47,697 tests have been conducted. 1,254 of the 2,567 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that congregate care (Resident/Staff) appears to be the most likely sources of transmission.

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Ron Budrik, Power 96 News

Next time you over hear a stranger giving out their number. Text them details of what they are wearing. Itís so fun to watch them freak out!

Why do people put their relationship status as Ē its complicated ď?? We all know that means ur single but still doing ur ex.. why advertise that???

Iím currently writing a book about my love of dogs and gardening. Itís called b*tches and hoes.

If I was single, I would have a stick figure of myself on the back of my car next to a bag of cash.

Can someone please explain to me why the kids from Scooby-Doo were afraid of people in masks, but were totally cool with a talking dog?

Is a rivalry between two vegetarians still called a beef?

Older Stories

Because the Freeborn County Government Center is closed to the public at this time, there will be no gallery. The meeting will be televised on-line at www.freeborn.co.mn.us The meeting will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. Anyone wishing to bring a concern to the board or make a comment may do so by e-mailing their qustions or comments to tom.jensen@co.freeborn.mn.us Any comments or concerns will be read by County Administrator Tom Jensen during the public comment portion of the meetings.

Firefighters rushed to rescue more than a dozen residents from a Minneapolis apartment fire Tuesday morning.

The fire started around 1 a.m. at an apartment building off Penn Avenue North and 36th Avenue North.

A KSTP crew at the scene learned one unit was destroyed and others were damaged.

Firefighters at the scene told KSTP they felt lucky a fire station is right around the corner.

Given the size of the fire and windy conditions, the fire had taken over most of the apartment complex, authorities said.

Many residents were trapped on the second floor and firefighters used ladders to rescue them.

No one was seriously hurt as a result of the fire. One person attempted to exit the complex by using the hallway and he was treated for smoke inhalation.

The fire has left about 25 people without a home

The incident remains under investigation.

JBS USA says it's temporarily shutting down its big pork processing plant in southwestern Minnesota because of an outbreak of COVID-19 among workers.

It's the third plant the company has closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bob Krebs is president of JBS USA Pork. Krebs says the company didn't make the decision lightly.

He says the Worthington plant is critical to local hog producers and the U.S. food supply. The plant employs more than 2,000 people and normally slaughters 20,000 hogs per day.

JBS will continue to pay workers during the closure.

COVID-19 Fears May Keep Medical Emergencies Away from Hospitals

Minnesotans largely have been following stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. But health officials say a troubling trend appears to be emerging for those dealing with health emergencies not related to the public health crisis. Mike Moen reports

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Mapleton Cancels Town and Country Days

COVID-19 has claimed another social function. The town of Mapleton has announced that the Mapleton Town and Country days celebration scheduled for June 11th thru the 14th has been canceled. The announcement was made via the Town and Country Days Facebook page and said the they are moving ahead with plans for the celebration to continue in 2021.

   

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Freeborn County COVID-19 Positives Climbs to 29

Freeborn County Reports 2 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 29 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 2 from yesterday's total.

The 28th case is a person in their 80s and the 29th case is in their 30s. Nine of the 29 lab confirmed cases are out of isolation.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 25 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 163 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,912 cases and 94 deaths, up 7 from yesterday. Over 41,675 tests have been conducted. 1,020 of the 1,912 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that travel and congregate care appears to be the most likely sources of transmission.

   

Two St. John's Staff COVID-19 Positive

Two Albert Lea area St. Johnís Lutheran Community staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

One of the employees had worked at The Meadows Assisted Living and Waters Edge Independent Living sites on the Fountain Lake campus.

The second employee, worked only at The Meadows facility.

The Minnesota Department of Health has been in contact with the employees as well as St. Johnís officials.

The employees that were identified are not able to work for 14 days as they quarantine, and they will not be able to return to work until they are symptom-free after their quarantine period.

Updates and notes to families can be found on the top of the web page at www.stjohnsofalbertlea.org

   

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Sanderson Auto Adapts to New Business Climate

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Aaron Bjorkland, Shop Manager at Sanderson Auto, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Freeborn County Reports 0 New Cases of COVID-19

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 27 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is no change from yesterday's total.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 25 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 153 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,809 cases and 87 deaths, up 8 from yesterday. Over 40,242 tests have been conducted. 940 of the 1,809 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that travel appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

Alden Morin Lake Days Canceled for 2020

COVID-19 has claimed yet another yearly function. First the Albert Lea Historical Museum and Village canceled their Eddie Cochran festivities, now the City of Alden has canceled their Morin Lake Days Celebration. According to the city's Facebook page, the festivities were scheduled for June 19th through the 21st. There are currently no alternate plans to hold the event this year.

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Raleigh's Ace Hardware Still Serving the Community

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Matt Raleigh, of Raleigh's Ace Hardware, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports 3 additional COVID-19 Cases

Freeborn County Reports 3 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 27 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 3 from yesterday's total.

The 25th case is a person in their 70s, the 26th case is in their 20s, and the 27th case is in their 80s. At this time these three cases are not hospitalized. Three of the 27 total cases have been hospitalized sometime during their illness. Six of the 27 lab confirmed cases are out of isolation.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 23 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 147 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,695 cases and 79 deaths, up 9 from yesterday. Over 39,241 tests have been conducted. 909 of the 1,695 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that travel appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

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Roofing Company Considered Essential

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Bob Hanson of Rightway Roofing, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports No New Cases of COVID-19

Freeborn County Reports 0 additional COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 24 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is no change from yesterday's total.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 25 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 143 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,650 cases and 70 deaths. Over 38,427 tests have been conducted. 842 of the 1,650 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that travel appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

65 Year Business Still Operating Through Pandemic

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Blaine Maher of Albert Lea Monument, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports 1 More COVID-19 Case

Freeborn County Reports 1 More COVID-19 Case

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 21 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 1 from yesterday's total.

The 21st case is a person in their 30s, who is recovering at home.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 22 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 9, and Olmsted County topped the area with 126 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,336 cases and 57 deaths. Over 33,894 tests have been conducted. 732 of the 1,336 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that travel appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

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Homestead Design Business Still Hanging On

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Angie Moller of Homestead Design, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Reports 3 More Positives, Including Child

Freeborn County Reports 3 More COVID-19 Cases

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 20 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 3 from yesterday's total.

The 18th case is a person in their 30s, the 19th case is in a child under the age of 10, and the 20th case is a person in their 50s.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 20 cases, Faribault had 4, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 8, and Olmsted County topped the area with 114 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,242 cases and 50 deaths. Over 32,294 tests have been conducted. 675 of the 1,242 cases no longer need to be isolated.

The MDH reported that community exposure appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

Sorenson's Appliance and TV Continues to Fight

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Dak Sorenson, owner of Sorenson's TV and Appliance is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County Adds 3 More COVID-19 Positives

Freeborn County Adds 3 More Positives

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 17 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 3 from yesterday's total.

The fifteenth case is a person in their 80s, the sixteenth case is in their 40s, and the seventeenth case is in their 80s. No other information was released.

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 18 cases, Faribault had 3, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 8, and Olmsted County topped the area with 108 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,154 cases and 39 deaths. Over 30,753 tests have been conducted. 632 of the 1,154 cases no longer need to be isolated. The MDH reported that community exposure appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

Hanson Tire of Austin Keeps Doors Open

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Bruce Turner of Hanson Tire of Austin, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Freeborn County COVID-19 Infections Up to 14

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 14 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 3 from yesterday's total.

According to a press release from Freeborn County Public Health, The twelfth case is a person in their 80s, the thirteenth case is in their 40s, and the fourteenth case is in their 20s. At this time we have been informed that one person is hospitalized.

No other information was released.

   

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 18 cases, Faribault had 3, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 8, and Olmsted County topped the area with 103 and 2 deaths.

In total, Minnesota reported 1,069 cases and 34 deaths. Over 29,260 tests have been conducted. 549 of the 1,069 cases no longer need to be isolated. The MDH reported that community exposure appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

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Freeborn County United Way Sets Up COVID-19 Fund

The United Way of Freeborn County has established a United Way Safety Net Fund to help area residents and will be used for immediate, intermediate and long term recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The services include meal delivery and grocery delivery for county residents who are home-bound seniors or considered at risk individuals. 100 percent of the funds are used for Freeborn County residents with no administrative fees levied against the funds. To request help, residents are asked to call 507-377-4341 or e mail assistance@unitedwayfc.org

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ALEDA Copes with Covid Pandemic

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Phillip Johnson, Executive Director of ALEDA, is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Albert Lea's Erbert and Gerbert's Adapts to Changing Climate

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Jennifer Van Riper, General Manager of Albert Lea's Erbert and Gerbert's is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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2 More Test Positive in Freeborn County Bringings Total to 7

In today's Minnesota Department of Health's morning update, Freeborn County has now reported 7 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. That is up 2 from yesterday's total.

According to a press release from Freeborn County Public Health, the newest cases are a person in their 40s and the seventh case is a person in their 60s.. No other information was released.

   

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County had reported 15 cases, Faribault had 3, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 6, and Olmsted County topped the area with 76, up 10 from yesterday.

In total, Minnesota reported 789 cases and 22 deaths, up 4 from yesterday. Over 24,227 tests have been conducted. 410 of the 789 cases no longer need to be isolated. The MDH reported that community exposure appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

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Perkins in Albert Lea Adjusts to New Business Climate

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Sara Heggestad, General Manager of Perkins in Albert Lea is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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State Reports 2 COVID-19 Cases in Freeborn County

According to today's Minnesota Department of Health morning update, Freeborn County has reported 2 positive cases of Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Freeborn County was the last county is southeastern Minnesota to report positive test results.

In a press release from Freeborn County Public Health, The first case is a person in their 50s who is recovering at home. The second case is a person in their 70s. No other information is available on the cases at this time.   

As of today's 11:00 results, Mower County reported 14 cases, Faribault had 2, Waseca County with 3, Steele reported 6, and Olmsted County had 61.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) staff will be working with Freeborn County Public Health staff on follow-ups. Cases are isolated to prevent disease spread and a contact investigation is completed to identify close contacts. Close contacts are quarantined for 14 days from their exposure and will monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms.

In total, Minnesota reported 689 cases and 17 deaths. Over 21,191 tests have been conducted. 342 of the 689 cases no longer need to be isolated. The MDH reported that community exposure appears to be the most likely source of transmission.

   

Local Business Spotlight: Dae Liquor Rides Out COVID-19 Worries

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Dyllan Engebertson owner of Dae Liquor is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Freeborn County United Way Still Helping

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Cindy Dowd from the Freeborn County United Way is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Mower County Opens Emergency Operations Center

An Emergency Operation Center is now open in Mower County.

Mower County Health and Human Services has now established an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to monitor the coronavirus pandemic as it unfolds. The EOC tracks the activities of federal, state and local partners and communicates with area responders

The EOC also asks people living in Mower County to check in on their neighbors and family while maintaining social distancing. Those in need of assistance can email em@co.mower.mn.us.

On Thursday, Mower County Public Health confirmed 4 new cases of COVID-19 in the county. Those testing positive range in age from late teens to late 50ís.

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MN Dep of Health Daily Infection Numbers for 3-27

The Minnesota Department of Health has reported 398 positive cases of COVID-19 infection, that is up 52 positives since yesterdays number. So far, the state is reporting that 14,003 tests that have been processed. Of those tests, 6,929 were processed through the state labs and 7,074 were processed through external laboratories.

The state has now reported 4 deaths related to COVID-19 with 51 total cases requiring hospitalization.

As of today, 34 remain in a hospital. Cases are now in 40 of the stateís 87 counties. Freeborn County is still reporting no cases of COVID-19 infection. Mower county had no change and is reporting 10 cases.

   

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Area business adjusts to the coronavirus issue Derricks Prefered Auto

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Brittany Schwindel at Derricks Preferred Auto is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Albert Lea Extends Local City Building Closings

In the wake of Governor Walz's ďStay HomeĒ order, the city of Albert Lea will continue its essential services policy until the order is lifted. All city buildings and facilities continue to be closed to the public including City Hall, the Albert Lea Public Library, Albert Lea Senior Center, City Arena and the Transfer Station.

This closure is in effect at least through April 15, 2020 and is subject to change.

   

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Freeborn County Extends Building Closures

With the recent announcement from Governor Walz requiring all citizens to Stay at Home, The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners reminds all residents that all Freeborn County buildings and facilities continue to be closed to the public including the Freeborn County Government Center, Freeborn County Human Services and the Freeborn County Highway Department.

This closure is now extended until MAY 4, 2020 at 8am.

The County Commissioners implore all the citizens of Freeborn County to abide by and follow the Governors guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID 19.

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Brian Hahn's Cleaning Service Adjusts to Business Climate

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Brian Hahn's Moonlight Floors and Maintenance is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Albert Lea Hy-Vee Adjusts to Business Climate

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Albert Lea's Hy-Vee is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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New Liquor Store Supports Local Efforts

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Albert Lea's Skyline Liquor is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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COVID-19 testing is NOT available in Mayo Clinic Health System Emergency Departments or Clinics

COVID-19 testing is NOT available in Mayo Clinic Health System Emergency Departments or clinics

Patients must call the nurse triage line to be assessed and directed to a drive-through testing center. The number to call in Albert Lea is 507-668-2121.

The primary focus of Mayo Clinic Health System is the health and safety of patients, staff and our community. Know that we're working diligently to ensure you receive the level of care, whether for COVID-19 or other concerns, that you've come to expect from Mayo Clinic Health System.

While our elective appointments and/or surgeries are being deferred, we will still see patients who have acute care needs, such as illnesses, injuries or required monitoring. For your own health and to help slow the spread of COVID-19, it is important for you to call first before visiting a hospital or clinic.

COVID-19 Testing

Testing is not available on a walk-in basis and patients must meet testing criteria. Please see the list of locations and phone numbers below to call and speak to our dedicated COVID-19 Nurse Line. If it is determined that you or an employee require testing, you will be directed to one of our dedicated drive through testing sites.

Please note COVID-19 testing is not available inside Mayo Clinic Health System campuses, including the Emergency Department.

Spirometry Testing

Due to the current outbreak of COVID-19, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) has advised to suspend routine spirometry testing. Spirometry test require performance of a forced expiratory maneuver which could spread droplets in the air if an infected person is tested, even if they are asymptomatic. Because of this risk to the patient care environment we will be temporarily suspending routine spirometry testing. Urgent needs for a spirometry test will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

   

MN Gov and MNSure Offers Special 30 Day Enrollment Period

Gov. Tim Walz along with Mnsure, the states health plan marketplace, announced a special 30-day enrollment period for those without health insurance, or who have lost health insurance due to job loss to sign up amid the growing number of coronavirus cases.

The enrollment period begins today and runs through Apr. 21, giving uninsured people 30 days to enroll in coverage through the MNSure exchange.

State residents who recently marked a marriage, birth of a child or a move might also qualify for enrollment.

You can find more information about the program at MNsure.org.

   

MN Gov Releases Executive Orders

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced a new Executive Order authorizing the Minnesota National Guard to provide assistance during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The Minnesota National Guardís initial mission is to transport personal protective equipment (PPE), such as protective face masks, from storage at Camp Ripley to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Executive Order 20-13 helps address the critically low supply of PPE in Minnesotaís hospitals and health care facilities, as well as the delivery delays from the federal governmentís Strategic National Stockpile.

Activation of the Minnesota National Guard has already begun and is active through the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Governor Walz also announced that small businesses in Minnesota are now eligible to apply for disaster assistance through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for economic injury during the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement comes after Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to the Director of the SBAís Office of Disaster Assistance requesting that Minnesota businesses be eligible for this assistance.

Albert Lea's 112 on Broadway Reinvents the Wheel

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Albert Lea's 112 on Broadway is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Albert Lea's Salvation Army Adjusts to Serve Those in Need

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Albert Lea's Salvation Army is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Georges of Geneva Fights inTrying Times

Area businesses are adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Georges of Geneva is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Mower County Reports First Case of COVID-19

Mower county has its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19.

According to Mower County Health and Human Services, the patient is in their 50s and a resident of Mower County. They were likely exposed through contact from domestic travel.

The patient developed symptoms on March 14 and sought health care on March 15. Samples were collected from the person on the 15th and the test was found positive on the 18th. MDH is awaiting confirmatory testing from CDC, but health officials consider the presumptive results actionable.

The patient is recovering in their home and in isolation.

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Mayo Now Able to Increase COVID Testing

The Mayo Clinic says it has expanded its capacity to test samples for SARS-CoV-2, that's the virus that causes COVID-19 significantly.

With new equipment that went online Tuesday, Mayo Clinic can now test samples from all Mayo Clinic sites. Mayo Clinic says it also started processing samples from clients across Minnesota.

With all testing options, Mayo Clinic says it can now process as many as 4,000 tests a day and expects that number to go up in the coming weeks.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota Thursday, for a total of 89 in the state. New cases by county:

Hennepin: 4

Rice: 1

Carver: 1

Wadena: 1

Anoka: 3

Martin: 1

Mower: 1

   

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Local Garbage Business Adapts to Corona Challenges

Area business is adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. Trash hauler Thompson Sanitation is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

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Local Ag Business Adapts to COVID-19

Area business is adjusting to the coronavirus issue in the best ways possible. The Albert Lea Seed House is no exception. KQPR's Ron Budrik has more.

   

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Dollar Generals First Hour Dedicated to Seniors

Because they're most susceptible to COVID-19, Dollar General is allowing senior citizens to come in early to get their shopping done so they can avoid the rest of the population. In a statement from Dollar General headquarters regarding the change, the retailer says, "The senior hour is designed to allow our vulnerable and at-risk neighbors the opportunity to purchase the items they need in a less crowded environment. As part of that, we are strongly encouraging customers who can wait an additional hour to do so. We are not qualifying a specific age for shoppers to qualify as seniors, but our goal is to allow the most susceptible customers in our communities the ability to shop during the first hour that stores are open."

?Along with Dollar General, some other local stores opening an hour earlier for senior citizens are Target and Hy-Vee.

Dollar General Opens at 8 a.m. in Albert Lea.

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Austin Utilities Closes Office to Public

Austin Utilities will temporarily close its office to the public effective March 18th and will limit service calls to emergency only. In addition, AU has voluntarily implemented a suspension on service disconnections for non-payment, effective immediately, and will waive late payment fees. This is to help protect the health and safety of their customers and employees in the community and to mitigate potential disruption to their business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AU will still be conducting business although the office will be close to the public. Customers can perform necessary business through the SmartHub app, website, phone, mail, and deposit boxes.

   

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City of Albert Lea to Begin Pandemic Plan Due to COVID-19

The City of Albert Lea has announced that that the city will be shutting down all non essential services Wednesday morning for 30 days. Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. called a special session of the City Council last night in the Council Chambers in City Hall where City Manager, David Todd, presented an ordinance that called for the city to activate the Pandemic Plan due to the COVID-19 epidemic. The motion passed unanimously with Councilor Rasmussen being the only no show.

The city's pandemic plan is a fluid document which allows the city to implement mandates established by the the Federal Government and the State of Minnesota. Todd said it allows for the city to direct its resources on a local level and allows the city to use FEMA forms for action so the city can recoup funds used to implement state and federal mandates.

Todd also announced that the city will begin ceasing daily operations and close all non essential city offices beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 18th. City Hall will be closed to the public, as will the Library, City Arena, Recreation Center, and Senior Center until April 15th. City staff will still be maintaining their offices and field phone calls and e-mails from citizens but the offices will be closed to the public. Todd also stated that the city will be suspending past due water bills and there will be no water shutoffs during the closure. Any access to all City buildings will be permitted on an appointment or urgent need basis.

Social Security Offices to Close Due to COVID-19

All local social security offices are closing to the public for in-person services, effective immediately.

The administration will still provide services but will do so over the phone or through online requests.

You may still apply for retirement, disability, Medicare benefits, and more online from any of your devices.

More information can be found on the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov

COVID-19 Forces State Ordered Closings

Closings continue due to COVID-19, ABC 6 News Anchor Brianna Cook has more.

   

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COVID-19 Forces A.L. Mayor to Call Special Meeting Tonight

The City of Albert Lea has announced that Mayor Vern Rasmussen, Jr. has called a special meeting of the City Council for tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers in City Hall. Mayor Rasmussen will be looking for a resolution adopting a local emergency for conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic event of 2020. We will bring you the results and the audio of that meeting when it is adjourned.

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241 Implements New Plans in Response to COVID-19

Albert Lea School District 241 held their board meeting last night at the Brookside Education Center. The board received a COVID-19 update from Superintendent Mike Funk.

For health care workers and other emergency responders, The district is setting up free child care for students ages 5 to 12 during regular school hours 241 staff will also be allowed to utilize the child care services.

Residents who wish to use this service are asked to contact their childís school to set up student care during the day, as well as transportation, if necessary.

Meals will be available to anyone 18 or younger starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday. The meals will be provided Mondays through Friday while the schools are closed. Buses will travel to various locations to deliver a pre-packaged lunch, snack and breakfast for students from 11 a.m. to noon at Southwest Middle School, Hollandale Christian School, Albert Lea High School, The Rock, Halverson Elementary School, Hawthorne Elementary School, Lakeview Elementary School, the Albert Lea Family Y, First Baptist Church in Clarks Grove, Hayward Lutheran Church, St. Theodore Catholic School parking lot and a parking lot at 600 E. 14th St.

   

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Freeborn County Limits Access to Government Center

Freeborn County has announced limited access to the Freeborn County Government Center, Human Services and the County Highway Department. Staff from the county will be working normal hours and available via phone and email. Access to all county buildings will be permitted on an appointment or urgent basis. Administrators from the county are considering are working on a plan as to how to conduct board meetings.

Emergency services will not be interrupted. The 911 dispatch center will remain accessible in the Freeborn County Law Enforcement Center.

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MN House Passes COVID-19 Funding

The Minnesota House has approved more funding to fight COVID-19, ABC 6 News Anchor Brianna Cook reports.

   

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