KMOJ COVID-19 UPDATE

Governor Tim Walz is extending the closures of bars, restaurants and other business indefinitely.  The shutdown was set to expire on Friday in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.  Walz said President Trump’s desire to have the country back to normal with closure orders lifted by Easter is setting “false expectations,” and added “it doesn’t go us any good to pretend” it will be over by then.

Ten handwashing stations are now in place in downtown Minneapolis.  The Downtown Improvement District placed the stations yesterday, including water, soap, and paper towels.  The stations are along Hennepin/1st Avenues, Nicollet, and between 4th and 5th streets right now.  The DID says those locations could change.

Hospital officials are preparing for the expected surge in COVID-19 patients throughout the state.  In the Minneapolis area, Hennepin Healthcare emergency preparedness director Dr. John Hick is expecting emergency rooms to be hit with a huge wave of patients by early next month.  He adds among the entire system, there are around 15-percent of the intensive care beds that are available right now, and those will be full quickly with coronavirus patients. 

Ford Motor Company is set to partner with GE and 3M on making face shields, ventilators, and air purifying respirators to fight the coronavirus pandemic.  Executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. says engineers have found a seat cooling blower used in the Ford F-150 truck can be used in a filtration system.  Ford and 3M have a goal of churning out as many as ten-times more respirators than are currently being manufactured to meet the need of the healthcare industry.  The automaker is looking into changing over an assembly plant for the medical device production, and has the full cooperation of the United Auto Workers union to do so.