Of the 423,688 known cases of coronavirus taken cumulatively as of January 4 at the Minnesota Department of Health website, 31,018 or 7.32 percent lived in Dakota County. Of the 5,259 deaths of known …
Of the 423,688 known cases of coronavirus taken cumulatively as of January 4 at the Minnesota Department of Health website, 31,018 or 7.32 percent lived in Dakota County. Of the 5,259 deaths of known COVID patients for Minnesota, 284 were from next door or nearby, in Dakota County. This being the case, what’s out there in terms of both strategies to slow the spread as well as ways to help businesses weather the financial storm and do their part to help Dakota County stay safe? First up, the vaccine news.
In the first place, the Minnesota Department of Health website states that “Minnesota will not require COVID-19 vaccines, with state residents apparently given the choice to accept or refuse the shot. Nonetheless, the state health department “strongly encourages” residents to pull that sleeve up to do their part.
“The COVID-19 has been approved for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” the state health department notes, stating above this that such “Emergency Use Authorizations” are issued when a product shows that “it likely works, and is safe,” but hasn’t gone through the full round of FDA licensure, “and no other remedy is available.” Two COVID-19 vaccines (by Pfizer and Moderna) have been approved under the Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, and more are now in development. Along with the vaccine news and to protect against potential scammers, the state health department states that “there is not a list Minnesotans need to get on to receive COVID-19 vaccine.” Early on, residents will be contacted by their employers or long-term care facility where they live about the vaccine. “We will provide updates when the vaccine is available to more people and how they can get it,” the state health department says. So what about for-profit businesses and other entities in the meantime? Not having cashflow can be a trying event, to say the least. That’s where Dakota County steps in.
In the first place, Dakota County waived 2021 liquor license fees December 1 as a way to help out small businesses, thereby saving license holders $4,105 per license fee. This waiver doesn’t apply to city-issued licenses though, with those who may have questions encouraged to contact their municipal governments.
Meanwhile, also listed on the Dakota County homepage at www. co.dakota.mn.us under “Business and non-profit resources” are a number of resources for small businesses, including but not limited to the “Small Business Relief Grant Program.” Beginning as of December 15, small businesses that have a physical location in Dakota County, were closed to the public for on-premises consumption by Executive Order 20-99, hold an active liquor license, can certify an impact of $5,000 ion operating costs due to executive orders by Governor Walz and agree to apply the funds to said costs, and are in currently good standing with the Secretary of State Office and Dakota County, are eligible to apply for the program, which will require filling out an IRS W-9 Form, with an Adobe PDF form to download on the county website. Bars and restaurants which are eligible will be contacted directly by Dakota County, with more grants available to a broader set of business in 2021. Stay tuned for more information on the county website.
Also included in links on the County website are those related to employee assistance through unemployment and job search, FEMA assistance resources for private non-profits, and those relating to businesses looking to protect employee mental health in the pandemic and its fallout. That being said, what are some statistical averages?
In the first place and as a partial example, Hastings, with 740 cases per 10,000 residents, roughly occupies the middle for COVID-19 cases between West St. Paul with 828.9 per 10,000 residents, and the Rural cities and townships of Dakota County, with 566.3 cumulative cases per 10,000 residents. In just four days between January 1 and January 4 of this year, seven people have died in Dakota County as a result of COVID-19. The median age for cases is 38, while the median age for deaths (excluding longer-term effects still being determined), is 83. All told, 1,620 people have been hospitalized from Dakota County as a result of coronavirus, including 76 from Hastings, or 4.4 percent of the Dakota County total. Between now and a full rollout of the vaccine then, there still remains much to be done to ensure both personal and group health in Dakota County.
More information on how to do that is available by traveling to the county website at www.co.dakota. mn.us and clicking on the black bar COVID link at the top of the page.