Nurses across Minnesota had a mass zoom call to tell reporters about the staffing crunch in Minnesota hospitals, which they say has been long-term and made even worse by COVID. Nurse Ali Marcanti: "These patients that are on my unit are sicker than they ever have been, and yet the focus still from the moment a patient enters a hospital is, how can we get this patient discharged? It is a constant revolving door, and staff and patients are treated as numbers and dollar signs." Shannon Cunningham with the Minnesota Nurses Association says she doesn't think nurses will resent that Governor [...]
Democrats are coming back hard against a plan Senate Republicans say would ease the shortage of nurses in Minnesota -- allowing licensed nurses from certain other states to immediately work in Minnesota, which they say will relieve pressure on hospitals and care facilities. House Speaker, Democrat Melissa Hortman contends Republicans' real intent... "Was a callous political move to try to just take a strike at the nurses union -- and we see right through that and the governor sees right through that." Governor Walz wants to bring in nurses from a national staffing agency for 60 days to ease the crunch. [...]
Republicans say they forced Walz administration to back away from controversial criminal sentencing change
Republicans say they got the Walz administration to back away from a plan that would have eliminated tougher sentences for those who commit crimes while on probation -- and will be watching to make sure they don't try it again. But the governor's corrections commissioner, Paul Schnell says: "I'm troubled that some legislator-testifiers appear to have taken advantage of victims' righteous anger to create confusion." But Sentencing Guidelines Commission member Michelle Larkin says the proposal was not consistent with public safety and didn't have community support: "I think that's the frustration we're hearing from the public, and we shouldn't dismiss that [...]
Minnesota business groups are cheering the U-S Supreme Court decision striking down the Biden administration's vaccination, testing and mask mandate for large employers but leaving it in place for some health care workers. Minnesota Chamber V-P Vicki Stute says employers across Minnesota know best how to manage their workplaces and keep employees and customers safe. But does it mean that some businesses might now *loosen* COVID policies, fearing loss of workers in an already-tight labor market? "I don't see businesses relaxing the policies that they've had in place for the past two years. Their policies have been working for them. I [...]
Many Minnesotans--and people across the country--are saying access to COVID testing isn't as easy as it should be. U-S Senator Tina Smith says, in particular... "It's been so frustrating especially over the last few months when there hasn't been nearly enough rapid at-home testing on the shelves for people." On Thursday, President Biden announced a government order for half-a-billion at-home test kits, which will be free for Americans. Smith calls rapid tests a critical tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19. The Senator says the tests can help people learn if they have COVID-19, and are critical to informing when they [...]
Prominent Native American activist Winona LaDuke with Honor the Earth says Clyde Bellecourt (BELL-court), who died yesterday (Tues) in Minneapolis at age 85, was a leader for seven decades in his commitment to the dignity of Indian people. LaDuke says Bellecourt and fellow founders of the American Indian Movement, which came out of Minneapolis... "They changed how we look at Indian people and laid the foundation so we could all stand up. Really, really remarkable what Clyde did. His leadership through all these years really changed the narrative." LaDuke says under the leadership of the American Indian Movement, Minneapolis became a [...]
The state's Sentencing Guidelines Commission votes this afternoon (1pm start) on changes that opponents warn will eliminate tougher sentences for those who commit crimes while on probation. At a mid-December hearing, Republican Representative Anne Neu (NOO) Brindley from North Branch said Minnesotans are tired of a "complete attitude of lawlessness that we seem to be forced to just tolerate": "They are tired of carjackings, of catalytic converter thefts, of shootings, of smash-and-grabs in our stores." But Lars Negstad with ISAIAH supports the change and told the Commission that current policies are overly harsh: "Result in needless pain and suffering, not only [...]
Several hundred extra nurses the Walz administration plans to temporarily bring in to relieve the COVID staffing crunch will go to select hospitals, indicates Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm: "No, there are not gonna be staff going to every single hospital in the state. This will be more strategic, placed where it can do the most good. It will mean that patients, as they are now, are needing to move around the state to be placed in where they can get the care." The Walz administration wants to use 40 million dollars in federal American Rescue money to hire about 300 [...]
The American Red Cross says it is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade while COVID-19 continues to surge across the country. And the Red Cross' Sue Thesenga says in addition to COVID... "Ongoing blood drive cancelations, staff limitations, fewer donors coming out to donate, the holidays, winter weather, seasonal cold and flu, all of these compound a lower donor turnout at blood drives and our donation centers." Thesenga says all types of blood are needed, especially O positive and O negative.
There's been some pushback over Minneapolis and St. Paul's decision to impose a proof of vaccine-or negative test requirement to dine at restaurants in both cities. But Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey insists: "This is a critical next step to avoid closures, we want to stay open and we need to stay safer." A mask mandate went into effect in the Twin Cities last week. This new step is set to begin on January 19th for restaurants, and January 26th for ticketed events.