Beginning Monday, medical, dental and veterinary clinics can resume elective procedures if they prepare a plan for prioritizing procedures, preserving personal protective equipment and ventilators, and protecting patients, visitors and their staff.

Gov. Tim Walz announced the order during an afternoon press conference on Tuesday, May 5.

The order effectively sets aside the governor's March 23 emergency order requiring the state's enormous health sector to delay all elective procedures — a step which has resulted in postponed care, furloughs, salary cuts and empty waiting rooms throughout the state's hundreds of hospitals and clinics.

Minnesota recorded 617 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, May 5, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Pope County in central Minnesota added its first case. The state confirmed case count is now 7,851, but that number is believed to be an undercount.

The outbreaks and intensified testing associated with meat processing continued to make their presence known in the state. Stearns County added another confirmed 87 cases on Tuesday, reaching 815 so far. Nobles County added 58 cases, reaching 1,011, while Kandiyohi County added 12 more cases, reaching 200.

Five counties home to meat processing now count for a quarter of all the cases in the state.

The 617 new cases added statewide was another one-day record for the state, albeit on far fewer tests. The state had hoped to be conducting 5,000 tests a day by the start of May, and had conducted nearly 4,500 daily by the end of last week. But on Tuesday, the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota led virtual testing lab had conducted only 2,068 tests.

North Dakota

The North Dakota Department of Health on Tuesday announced 41 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus.

The total number of positive tests for the virus in the state is up to 1,266, but 559 people have recovered from the illness, including 19 announced Tuesday. There are 31 residents hospitalized with the illness. Twenty-five North Dakotans, including 18 Cass County residents, have succumbed to the illness, which has claimed more than 69,000 lives nationwide.

The new cases announced Tuesday came from nine different counties around the state — a change from much of the last two weeks when the wide majority of cases came from Cass County, which encompasses Fargo and West Fargo.

Cass County still had the most new cases at 13. North Dakota's most populous county now has 643 known cases — more than half of the state's total. The department reports that 251 Cass County residents who previously tested positive have recovered.

Burleigh and Morton counties, which together encompass the Bismarck-Mandan metropolitan area, each had nine new cases confirmed Tuesday.

The other 10 new cases Tuesday came from Burke, Grand Forks, Mercer, Pembina, Stutsman and Williams counties. The one new case in Grand Forks County brings the total to 270, while the new case in Stutsman County is its 12th case. The three new cases in Mercer County are the rural county's first. The number of cases in residents and employees of nursing homes and long-term care facilities increased by 18 on Tuesday to 189 total cases.

South Dakota

South Dakota’s number of deaths from COVID-19 increased by three for a total of 24 deaths overall, officials said Tuesday. All three were women ages 80 or above.

There are 802 active cases in the state, which decreased by 15 cases since Monday.

A total of 2,721 confirmed positive cases have been reported in South Dakota, up 53 from Monday.

Sixty-five more people have recovered from COVID-19, which puts the total recoveries in the state at 1,895.

Wisconsin

Officials reported a total of 8,566 positive cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. That's an increase of 330 cases from Monday.

According to health officials, 353 people in Wisconsin have died from COVID-19. The Department of Health Services reported 83,967 negative tests for the new coronavirus, an increase of 3,500 from Monday to Tuesday, WPR said.

Around the region

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has hit South Dakota’s economy hard; total ongoing general fund revenues were $18.1 million lower than the estimate for April, according to a state report. The data also notes that tourism tax receipts are down by 28.5% compared to April of last year. The state’s sale tax revenue generated by apparel and accessory stores is down by 41.1%. Hotels, rooming houses, camps and other lodging saw a 35.9% decrease in sales tax revenue from last year. Eating and drinking places also saw a sales tax revenue decrease of 21.8% from last year.
  • A Minnesota state senator is facing backlash over a since-deleted tweet asking why campgrounds and resorts are closed to recreating during the coronavirus pandemic, while homeless Minnesotans are sleeping outside. Sen. Justin Eichorn, R-Grand Rapids, on Tuesday, May 5 tweeted the question, "How is camping on the streets of St Paul any safer than your family camping up North?" He later deleted the tweet after drawing criticism on social media.
  • A projected budget surplus in Minnesota has evaporated due to the coronavirus pandemic and actions to contain it and the state now faces a $2.4 billion deficit in the current budget. State budget officials on Tuesday, May 5, gave a unique update that cast a grim outlook for Minnesota's economy and reset legislative conversations about how state government could manage the hit and how lawmakers could offset the financial damage suffered by Minnesotans. The new figures represented a nearly $3.6 billion swing compared to the rosier economic forecast put out months earlier. State lawmakers and the governor entered the 2020 legislative session expecting a budget surplus of around $1.5 billion.

As a public service, we’ve opened this article to everyone regardless of subscription status. If this coverage is important to you, please consider supporting local journalism by clicking on the subscribe button in the upper righthand corner of the homepage.