On the first day of the state's staged, partial resumption of commercial, occupational and social activity, Minnesota health officials stressed on Monday, May 18, the importance of remaining vigilant about personal behaviors that minimize the spread of COVID-19.

"It's important to reinforce what hasn't changed as certain places of business and social settings are becoming more available to us," said commissioner of health Jan Malcolm. "At the business level, there's a lot that businesses are doing to reopen in a safe way. And on the personal level, it's important that when we are not feeling well, we really need to stay home and isolate."

As large portions of the state return to work, health officials are not hiding their concern that the state could see a spike in new cases. Kris Ehresmann, the Department of Health's director for infectious disease, said that, given an incubation period of up to two weeks, then another week for testing, "it will probably take at least 21 days," to know if the returning population is spreading the illness more actively.

For the first time in two weeks, deaths from COVID-19 dropped to single digits on Monday. Nine people were reported to have died from the virus, including one person each from Ramsey and Washington counties, two from Anoka County, and five from Hennepin County. To date, 731 Minnesotans have died from COVID-19.

North Dakota

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The North Dakota Department of Health announced 31 new cases of COVID-19, most of which come from the Fargo area. However, the department also confirmed the death of a Ramsey County woman in her 90s from the illness. The woman represents the first death from the illness in Ramsey County, which is in the northeast part of the state and includes Devils Lake.

Like every other victim of the illness in North Dakota, the woman had underlying health conditions, according to the department.

Forty-four North Dakotans, including 33 residents of Cass County, have now died from the illness that has claimed more than 89,000 lives nationwide. At least 29 of the deaths have come in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to the department.

The total number of positive tests for the virus in the state is at 1,931, but 1,219 people have recovered from the illness, including 41 announced Monday. There are 32 residents hospitalized with the illness, up two from Sunday.

Twenty-six of the new cases Monday came from Cass County, which encompasses Fargo and West Fargo. The county now has 1,173 known cases, but the department reports that 662 residents have recovered after previously testing positive.

South Dakota

South Dakota's known cases of COVID-19 have topped 4,000, but the number of hospitalizations remain steady but low, as the state launches four weeks of mass testing for the virus.

There are 4,027 known cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota, but nearly 2,800 of those diagnosed with the illness have recovered and only 77 with the virus are in the hospital, the state Department of Health reported Monday.

The state is continuing to plan to need 5,000 hospital beds at the virus' peak, Gov. Kristi Noem has said, although state projections have estimated the state will need only half or less of that number.

Wisconsin

Here are the latest COVID-19 statistics in Wisconsin as of Monday, May 18, according to the state Department of Health Services:

  • 12,687 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of 144 from Sunday and over 2,200 more cases than a week ago.

  • 144,502 negative test results

  • 459 deaths

  • 21 positive test results in Pierce County

  • 48 positive test results in St. Croix County



Around the region

Sioux Falls, S.D., will host a bull-riding team competition on July 10-12 with limited spectators, Professional Bull Riders Inc. announced late Sunday. The event, PBR Monster Energy Team Challenge, will be held at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, which will be revamped to safely host a crowd.

Also Monday, a group of Minnesota churches and small business owners that had sued the state in federal court over the stay at home order said it would file for a temporary restraining order to block enforcement around religious services.

Dozens of people came out to support business owner Kris Schiffler at his bar and restaurant in Albany, Minn., on Monday, after he announced he planned to open in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order that kept Minnesotan restaurants closed until June, 1.

While Schiffler didn’t open Shady’s Hometown Tavern in Albany for dine-in, the restaurant was still taking curbside orders Monday with multiple people standing outside to support him and his business.

The number of cases in residents and employees of North Dakota nursing homes and long-term care facilities increased by three on Sunday to 370. Nursing homes are particularly susceptible to deadly outbreaks of COVID-19 because many residents are 65 or older and have underlying conditions.

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