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Commissioners get COVID-19 update

BROWN COUNTY — Brown County Commissioners received a COVID-19 update from Brown County Public Health Director Karen Moritz Tuesday.

“We saw a number of (COVID-19 case) clusters from family gatherings and social clusters last week,” Moritz said.

In the last two weeks, 16% of Brown County COVID-19 cases were asymptomatic (no symptoms), 18% in K-12 students, said Moritz.

“We’ve got robust (COVID) testing at all our clinics,” said added. In addition, some pharmacies do testing.

Moritz said her department will continue working to prevent the spread to limit the illness so businesses can stay open and children can stay in school.

“The COVID-19 situation is ever changing and constantly evolving,” Moritz added. “We will present a situational update, Gov. Walz’ most recent order (21-01, protecting recent progress and cautiously resuming certain activities), school models and COVID-19 vaccination planning and implementation.”

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued an immediate news release Tuesday that read Minnesotans 65 and older can schedule appointments at COVID-19 community vaccine clinics as of noon Tuesday.

The pilot clinics will initially serve adults age 65 and older, prekindergarten through grade 12 educators, staff, and child care workers. Educators and child care workers will be notified if they receive an appointment.

Residents age 65 and older can make appointments by visiting mn.gov/vaccine or by calling toll free, 1-833-431-2053. Minnesotans should try to make an appointment online before dialing a call center. Those who can’t immediately make an appointment may be able to sign up for a waitlist.

Available appointments will refresh every Tuesday noon. Minnesotans can schedule appointments for their first and second vaccine doses.

Educators and child care providers, with few exceptions, work directly with their employer to receive instructions on how to secure a vaccine appointment and should not schedule an appointment unless their employer has contacted them with information about their appointment.

Appointments are required to receive a shot. Pilot clinics are in North Mankato, Andover, Brooklyn Center, Fergus Falls, Mountain Iron, Thief River Falls, St. Cloud, Rochester, and Marshall.

To make an appointment, Minnesotans must provide their name, Minnesota address, phone number, gender/race/ethnicity, birthday, and health information including underlying conditions, current illnesses, and allergies. Providing email addresses is optional. There will be no walk-ins.

“Please be patient. If you can’t make an appointment now, you will be able to soon,” said Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. More information is available at mn.gov/vaccine.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

• Setting a letting date for 2021 seal coat oil quotes at 10 a.m., Feb. 17, 2021, motion by Commissioner Jeff Veerkamp, seconded by Commissioner Dave Borchert. The 2021 quantity of seal oil needed is 605 tons or 142,000 gallons.

• Planning Commission recommendations including an application by Loran Sellner, Section 13, Stark Township, to renew an existing conditional use permit to continue to allow use of a dairy waste holding basins with up to 375 AU, all in the A-1 Agricultural Protection Zoning District, motion by Commissioner Dean Simonsen, seconded by Veerkamp.

• The 2020 Landfill Annual Report and 2021 Environmental Monitoring Reporting Assistance from GEI Consultants, motion by Simonsen, seconded by Borchert. The proposal cost is $25,700 plus $6,000 for optional task 4 for a total of $31,700.

• Setting the Assessor’s County Board of Review for 7 p.m., Monday, June 21. A continuance is set for 1 p.m., June 22, motion by Borchert, seconded by Commissioner Scott Windschitl.

• Approval of the Brown County COVID-19 State Business Assistance Grant eligibility and program guidelines as presented, motion by Veerkamp, seconded by Windschitl.

Brown County will receive $483,645 to grant to businesses and non-profits based on criteria including operating costs during the shutdown such as rent, mortgage, utilities, supplier payments and other regular business costs.

The county may require business owners to provide proof that grant funds were used for eligible expenses.

Applications open Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Priority will be given to those that apply by Friday, Feb. 12. Grant recommendations will be made by Brown County Economic Development Partners, and sent for final approval by county commissioners.

Priority will be given to businesses/non-profits impacted by November 2020 Executive Order 2020-99 or those that experienced a 20% or more reduction in 2020 revenue compared to 2019 and did not receive Minnesota Business Relief Program direct payments.

Businesses and organizations must have 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, no outstanding tax liens and be locally owned, operated and located in Brown County with an ownership group in Brown County of a bordering county. Franchise businesses are eligible. One application per business tax ID number will be accepted.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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