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Briefly

St. Louis County cases lead state

DULUTH (AP) — St. Louis County in northeastern Minnesota this week has added new coronavirus cases faster than any other county in the state, according to health officials.

Of the 475 cases in St. Louis County as of Wednesday, more than half were confirmed in July. The virus has been detected throughout the state’s geographically largest county, but about three-fourths of the cases came from Duluth, statistics showed.

While nursing homes were hit hard by COVID-19 in the spring and early summer, now nearly one-third of those infected in the county are in their 20s.

About 40% of those testing positive say they’ve attended restaurants or bars during the period they were likely exposed to the virus, the county’s public health director Amy Westbrook said.

“There’s a lot of things to really be concerned about,” said Westbrook, notably the proliferation of community transmission.

Westbrook said the next few weeks will be critical as the county watches to see whether the number of daily new cases, recently hovering close to 20, drops.

On Wednesday the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reported its first two confirmed cases on the reservation, part of which is in St. Louis County, and a third case involving a band member tested in Duluth, the Star Tribune reported.

Noem trying to lure business

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem is using COVID-19 restrictions in other states to lure businesses to relocate to South Dakota.

In an online ad, Noem tells business owners to “grow their company” in South Dakota where government will stay out of their way.

“When it comes to supporting growth and eliminating government heavy-handed interference, South Dakota means business,” Noem said in the ad from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

The Republican governor says Minnesota’s COVID-19-related restrictions, including a mandate to wear face masks in public buildings, has created an opportunity for businesses there to cross the border to South Dakota.

Noem says in South Dakota, people’s individual rights are respected and businesses won’t be shut down.

Noem has taken a relaxed approach to the pandemic. Even as Republican governors in states like Texas have moved to require people to wear masks, Noem didn’t require physical distancing or masks at the July 3 celebration at Mount Rushmore, which President Donald Trump attended.

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