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Martin Co. cases at 36; Mayo planning furloughs

FAIRMONT — The number of coronavirus cases in Martin County has increased by two to 36. The number of deaths remains at four.

Meanwhile, Mayo Clinic — on the front lines of the fight — announced Friday that it is planning changes to its operations that include temporary furloughs of some staff, in addition to salary reductions.

In a press release, Mayo stated: “Mayo Clinic is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of these circumstances, including a financial impact that requires significant adjustments to our operations. The decision to proactively postpone elective patient care was the right one, but it eliminated the majority of our revenue at the same time we are making critical investments to develop and expand testing, conduct research to stop the pandemic, and re-align our facilities and care teams to treat COVID-19 patients.”

Mayo said the number of staff to be furloughed will not be known until late April or early May. It said every site and department is working through the planning process.

Mayo said that of its 70,000 employees, less than one-third will face pay cuts. It said pay rates for hourly workers will not change.

The Minnesota Hospital Association in a press release Friday said it has sent a letter to the Minnesota congressional delegation asking lawmakers to help secure emergency funding for the state’s hospitals and health systems, which are expected to lose $2.9 billion over the next 90 days.

Dr. Marie Morris, medical director, and Amy Long, administrator, at Mayo-Fairmont issued a release Friday that included the following statement: “It is important you know how we are still meeting the needs of our patients and community. The hospital is prepared if we should see an influx of patients requiring hospital level of care. And, we have trained additional staff to be able to support increased hospital volumes. Our surgical team and physicians are available and providing emergency surgery care. The Urgent Care remains open for any urgent needs and our Emergency Department continues to see any and all patients seeking emergent care. Additionally, our outpatient physicians and providers continue to care for patients. While the majority of our elective or non-urgent visits are no longer occurring via face to face visits, providers are using virtual care to continue to see patients.”

Elsewhere locally, Martin County Sheriff Jeff Markquart provided a Facebook update Friday in which he noted that the virus is not discriminating according to age.

“This is affecting everybody,” he said.

Markquart said the average age of those with the virus was 66 years old when it first appeared (mid-March) in the county. The average dropped to 55 a week ago and is down to 48 today.

The two new cases reported Friday are 52 and 48 years old, respectively, he said.

Of the 36 cases in the county, six are considered still active, with those half-dozen hospitalized or in self-quarantine.

Markquart encouraged county residents to stay home, stay out of the stores as much as possible and do all they can to help keep the case numbers from rising.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday reported seven new deaths from the virus, raising the state’s total to 57. The state has witnessed 1,336 cases of coronavirus.

The Associated Press reported Friday that the largest group demographically of positive tests in Minnesota are in the age range of 20 to 44. The state says 52% are female and 48% are male.

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