Coronavirus News – May 7

Minnesota needs up to 4,000 more workers to track COVID-19

The state of Minnesota might need 4,000 more workers to identify and isolate the rising number of COVID-19 infections and their contacts. Contact tracers are a vital part of the test, trace and isolate strategy embraced to control the spread of the virus. “We are going to need to dramatically build up our capacity,” Margaret Kelly, deputy health commissioner for the state, told the Star Tribune. “We could need as many as 4,200 tracers.” Nearly four of every 10 confirmed cases lack key epidemiological information on the likely route of exposure, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Read more.

New Jersey extends public health emergency for 30 days

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has extended the public health emergency he declared for New Jersey by 30 days. Gov. Murphy declared both a state of emergency and a public health emergency on March 9 and extended that order on April 7. The executive order he signed this week will keep it in place through at least June 5. “I want to make it absolutely clear that this action does not mean that we are seeing anything in the data which would pause our path forward and it should not be interpreted by anyone to mean we are going to be tightening any of the restrictions currently in place,” Gov. Murphy said during his daily coronavirus briefing. Read more.

Berkeley offers free COVID-19 tests to all residents, workers with symptoms

Anyone who lives or works in Berkeley, CA, and has COVID-19 symptoms can now request an appointment to get tested with the city. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and newly losing a sense of smell. “This expansion is part of the city’s effort to establish tools that interrupt COVID-19 transmission, which leads to broader relaxation of shelter-in-place rules,” said Dr. Lisa Hernandez, Berkeley’s health officer. Read more.

Most laid-off workers believe they will get jobs back, economists warn all losses won’t return

More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the economy was largely stopped, and another 3 million jobless claims are expected on Thursday. But, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll, 77% of laid-off workers believe they’ll return to their pre-pandemic jobs. Economists, however, are warning that more than 40% of job losses could become permanent. Read more.

Tyson Foods to reopen its largest pork plant after outbreak

Tyson Foods will reopen its largest pork plant Thursday after a major coronavirus outbreak forced the company to shut down the facility in Waterloo, IA, two weeks ago. It employs about 3,000 people and was one of the major meat processing plants to close recently due to COVID-19. The closures have led to meat shortages and purchase limits at some grocery stores. The plant in Waterloo closed on April 22. Read more.