Wednesday a.m. update: How to help others during the pandemic

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know to start your Wednesday.

A messy day, weather-wise, too. But not bad for March. Twin Cities will have fog and possibly rain Wednesday morning with highs in the upper 40s and more rain in the afternoon and evening. Statewide, cloudy with a chance of rain (or snow in the northwest) with highs ranging from the mid-30s to mid-40s. More on Updraft. | Forecast

What’s on the radio today

Whether to keep day cares open or order them to close is a lose-lose situation: Close child care centers and you leave families who can’t telecommute unable to find care for their young ones. Stay open and risk spreading the disease further.

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This pandemic is more difficult for some, but there are ways to help. From food shelves to blood banks, it seems like every organization is running a skeletal operation amid this coronavirus outbreak. There are plenty of ways to help those who need it, if you’re able.

“If there is no toilet paper in the grocery store, there certainly isn’t any at the food shelf.” Donate to groups like the Interfaith Outreach, Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army, which take financial contributions to help individuals and families.

There are many resources in this list, but we want to know them all. If we’re missing something, tell us.

Health workers are among the 60 and counting people infected with COVID-19. More than 2,300 people have been tested in Minnesota since the outbreak. And the number of cases is increasing every day.

Lawmakers are directing $200 million toward helping front-line workers, including health workers. “Our health care facilities are Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a news release after signing the bill. “I am proud of this urgent, bipartisan action to support our state’s health care infrastructure during this unprecedented public health event.”

Walz signed some other major legislation on Tuesday, too. One law offers $50 million in low-interest loans to Minnesota farmers while another puts $30 million back into a natural disaster relief fund. Another law clears the way for the state Department of Transportation to apply for a federal loan to complete an expansion of Highway 14 in southern Minnesota. More here.

Also, there’s still a presidential election going on. A few states held presidential primaries and Joe Biden had another good night, besting Bernie Sanders in the major contests.

Back to coronavirus: All bars, restaurants and coffee shops are closed for dine-in, and unemployment applications are coming quickly and in great numbers. Two thousand applications every hour, according to Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove.

Nearly a quarter million Minnesotans are directly hurt by the closures. As Grove told MPR News, some have paid sick time, but many do not.

However, President Trump wants the government to send Americans a check. The AP reports “he wants Congress to push through a major comprehensive package to help businesses and workers facing hardships....” The administration says it’d add $1 trillion to the economy.

Emergency officials have new guidance for when to call 911. The idea is to reserve it for true emergencies. In the case of coronavirus, the guidance is to call only when experiencing shortness of breath, decreased consciousness or who have coronavirus symptoms that don’t go away after a week.

Have you tried getting tested for COVID-19? We want to know your experience. Let us know here (we’ll keep your information private) to help our reporting.

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