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BUFFALO, MN – The Wright County Board of Commissioners adopted the following emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
WHEREAS, Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019, commonly known as COVID-19, a respiratory disease-that can result in serious illness or death, is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is a new strain of coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans and can easily spread from person to person; and
WHEREAS, the CDC has identified the potential public health threat posed by COVID-19, and has advised that person-to-person spread of COVID-19 will continue to occur; and
WHEREAS, Wright County has had a positive test for COVID-19; and,
WHEREAS, on January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency for COVID-19, beginning on January 27; 2020; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020 President Donald Trump declared that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a National Emergency; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, Governor Tim Walz declared a Peacetime State of Emergency to authorize any and all necessary resources to be used in support of the COVID-19 response; and
WHEREAS, the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Public Health recommend that any individual with confirmed COVID-19 should remain under home isolation precautions until the risk of secondary transmission to others is thought to be low; and
WHEREAS, during this pandemic, it is possible that individuals who are not diagnosed with COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine to control or prevent further spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, the necessary resources to respond to and recover from this pandemic will exceed those resources available within the County, and additional resources will be needed from Wright County, and state and federal sources;
Now, THEREFORE, THE WRIGHT COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, REQUESTS, AND DIRECTS AS FOLLOWS:
- Under the authority given in Minnesota Statutes 12.29, declares that a local emergency exists within Wright County, effective March 16, 2020, with all the powers and responsibilities attending thereto as provided by Chapter 12, Minnesota Statute.
- Directs County departments to review ordinance and regulatory requirements, operations, civil and legal proceedings, events, and resources that can and should be adjusted or suspended, or to enact emergency regulations to support the residents of Wright County during the pandemic.
- Directs the Wright County Public Health Director/Community Health Services Administrator and the Wright County Director of Emergency Management to request and coordinate appropriate aid and resources from surrounding jurisdictions and the State of Minnesota, as needed.
- Declares, under Minn. Stat. 13D.021, that in-person meetings of the County Board of Commissioners and other public bodies under the County Board’s jurisdiction where members of those bodies have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are otherwise in quarantine or isolation in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not practical or prudent because of the COVID-19 health pandemic and the emergency declared under Minn. Stat. Chapter 12 by Governor Walz.
- Orders that this declaration be given prompt and general publicity and that it be filed promptly by the County Clerk.
In addition, all Wright County government public counters – with the exception of the sheriff’s office, court administration, and court services/probation – will be closed until April 1. All departments will begin implementing telecommuting to the greatest extent possible. Furthermore, the commissioners requested that all nonessential committee meetings be postponed until April 1.
ST. PAUL, MN – Walz orders the temporary closure of schools to allow for new safety measures
Children of health care professionals, emergency workers to receive care
[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-02, authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools will be closed to students by Wednesday, March 18 through Friday, March 27 to accommodate this planning between school staff, teachers, and administrators with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
“My top priority as Governor is the safety of Minnesotans. As a former teacher, and father of two teenage kids, I’m especially focused on the safety of our children.” said Governor Walz. “I am ordering the temporary closure of schools so educators can make plans to provide a safe learning environment for all Minnesota students during this pandemic. Closing schools is never an easy decision, but we need to make sure we have plans in place to educate and feed our kids regardless of what’s to come.”
Executive Order 20-02 requires schools to provide care for elementary-age children of health care professionals, first responders, and other emergency workers during previously planned school days to ensure Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19 can stay on the job.
“There is nothing more important than the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “This decision was made with children and families in mind, as well as our educators, to best support our schools and educational system in the weeks and months ahead and make sure that we have a plan in place for our kids who rely on school for meals and other critical needs.”
The Executive Order also makes provisions for the continuity of mental health services and requires schools to continue providing meals to students in need.
“The safety and well-being of our students is always our top priority,” said MDE Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “That is why we are committed to creating an education delivery model that can sustain learning, no matter the circumstances. Minnesota has long valued education and we will continue to work with our school leaders to ensure that our students continue to receive the education they need and deserve. Educators are caring, creative people and I am confident they are going to work to meet the needs of our students in these extraordinary times.”
The Governor advises and urges Minnesotans to continue following the Minnesota Department of Health’s community mitigation strategies during this temporary closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while students are not in school.
A statement from Bishop John M. LeVoir of the Diocese of New Ulm regarding COVID-19 and Mass obligation
NEW ULM – Given the rapid spread of the COVID-19/coronavirus and to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading infection, I am dispensing the faithful from the obligation of attending Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday for the next three weekends (March 14/15; 21/22; 28/29) in the Diocese of New Ulm. If the faithful decide that gathering for Sunday Mass would constitute a risk to themselves or others, they have the freedom not to attend. However, Masses will continue to be celebrated in parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm as regularly scheduled.
A map of parishes in the Diocese of New Ulm may be found here: https://www.dnu.org/parishes-2
The Diocese has parishes in or near to the Herald Journal and Enterprise Dispatch areas. They are located in Winsted, Darwin, Silver Lake, Litchfield, Hutchinson, and Glencoe.
A more extensive statement from Bishop LeVoir to Catholics in the Diocese of New Ulm can be found on the diocesan website, www.dnu.org.
McLEOD, CARVER, AND HENNEPIN COUNTIES, MN – The horse trail along the Luce Line State Trail, from Vicksburg Lane in Plymouth to the City of Winsted, will be closed from Saturday, March 7 to about May 15. The closure is intended to prevent damage to the tread way from wet conditions and frost coming out of the ground, according to a release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Signs will be posted on the horse trail notifying users of the trail closure. DNR conservation officers and local law enforcement officials will monitor compliance
The main tread way will remain open for permitted uses. Horseback riding is not permitted on the main tread way at any time.
Those who choose the Luce Line Trail to walk their dogs are reminded that dogs must be leashed and dog waste should be picked up. Trail rules say that dogs must be on a leash that is 6 feet or shorter.
Questions regarding the horse trail closure or any other trail-related issues can be directed to Rachel Henzen, DNR area parks and trails supervisor, at 651-259-5875.
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN – The Wright County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office has announced that it will be open additional hours for those interested in absentee voting for the Presidential Nomination Primary (PNP) and township elections.
The PNP will be Tuesday, March 3 and the auditor/treasurer’s office will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 and extend its closing time Monday, March 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Township elections will be held Tuesday, March 10. Similar time frames will remain in place for this election as well, with the office being open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 7 and extending its office hours from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 9.
The who wish to vote early in either election can do so during regular business hours at the Wright County Government Center in Buffalo from now until the day before either election.