Minnesotans worry as COVID-19 spreads to nursing homes

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota residents are worried about their elderly loved ones as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to nursing homes.
At least 17 people living in nine senior care facilities across the state have become infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, the Star Tribune reported. Public health officials are concerned that the virus already has spread to more facilities but has not been detected.
Adult children fear they won’t be able to touch their relatives again for weeks or months, or that their loved ones will die alone in locked-down facilities.
“I am trying to stay strong, but it’s absolutely tearing me apart that I can’t reach out and hug my mother,” said Jillian Van Hefty, whose mother has Alzheimer’s disease. “I don’t want her to feel abandoned.”
On a recent morning, Van Hefty stood with her 11-year-old son, Alex, as they waved and blew kisses to the 77-year-old woman. She waved back from behind a screened window at the All Saints Senior Living community in Shakopee.
Married couples who live in the same facilities also have been separated.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Minnesota’s long-term-care industry is trying to avoid the scenarios such as what happened at a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, where at least 37 deaths have been linked to the COVID-19 outbreak
“We know this is going to get worse, much worse,” said Jean Peters, president of Elder Voice Family Advocates, a volunteer group seeking better care for seniors.
Many Minnesota families are agonizing over whether to move their frail parents out of nursing homes. Those who cannot care for loved ones at home are struggling with separation and not knowing whether their relatives are safe.
“The choices we are being forced to make are gut-wrenching,” Patty Sagert said as she dropped off groceries for her elderly mother.

Minnesota reports 4 new COVID-19 deaths; total now 9

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota reported four new deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the state’s death toll from the new coronavirus to nine.
State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said three of the new deaths were among people who lived in long-term care facilities in Hennepin County. The fourth death was in Martin County, in southern Minnesota, but was not linked to long-term care. Of the new Hennepin County deaths, two were in the same facility and one was in a different facility, Malcolm said.
The four deaths are the biggest one-day jump in Minnesota coronavirus deaths since the state’s first confirmed case was reported March 6, the Star Tribune reported. Minnesota’s death toll from the disease was at five on Saturday.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Sunday reported 503 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, up 62 from the previous day. Of Minnesota’s confirmed cases, 252 people no longer need to be isolated, health officials said. As of Sunday, there were 39 cases of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, up nine from the day before.
A total of 45 counties — more than half of Minnesota’s counties — have at least one confirmed case of the disease caused by the coronavirus. Cottonwood, Douglas, Isanti and Otter Tail counties were added to the list for the first time Sunday. Hennepin County is still the state’s hardest-hit county, with 171 confirmed cases, an increase of 19 confirmed cases from the day before.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Minnesota was in the second full day of a statewide “stay-at-home” order on Sunday. Gov. Tim Walz issued a general stay-at-home order for all noncritical workers statewide that took effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Iowa officials confirm 38 new COVID-19 cases

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa health officials said Sunday that they have confirmed 38 more cases of COVID-19 and a fourth death.
The Iowa Department of Public Health said the state now has 336 positive cases, up from 298 on Saturday. The latest death was a Linn County resident between the ages of 61 and 80.
The new cases include 10 in Polk County, six in Linn County and four each in Johnson and Dubuque counties. The virus has now been found in 50 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
The new cases include nine people who range in age from 18 to 40; 14 who are 41-60 years old; 14 who are older than 60; and one child younger than 18.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has ordered bars, dine-in restaurants, theaters, casinos and businesses that sell furniture, books and clothing to remain closed until at least April 7 to help limit the virus’ spread.

Storms, tornadoes strike Midwest, South

By KEN MILLER
Associated Press
Strong storms that brought tornadoes, high winds, hail and rain to parts of the Midwest and South caused extensive damage in some areas but no deaths, officials said Sunday.
Tornadoes were spotted in Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa as thunderstorms swept through the area Saturday. High winds and a possible tornado were also reported in Indiana.
The National Weather Service said it was still assessing damage and determining the strength of the tornadoes. Among the places that were hit was a mall in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and an apartment building in the northeastern Iowa community of Oelwein.
In Jonesboro, most stores at The Mall at Turtle Creek were closed because of coronavirus concerns, which helped to minimize the number of injuries from the tornado.
“There are 18 injuries in this event (Saturday) and two were admitted to the hospital. No fatalities, thank God,” Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said Sunday.
Day did not provide the condition of the two hospitalized, but said the injuries were not life-threatening.
“The rescue effort is complete and we have started cleanup and recovery,” said Day, the county’s top executive officer.
The Jonesboro Municipal Airport and a Busch Agricultural Resources rice mill also suffered heavy damage when the tornado struck about 5 p.m. Day said.
The tornado also derailed a Union Pacific train.
Railroad spokeswoman Amanda Treiber said that about 112 cars derailed, releasing an undisclosed flammable liquid and paint that Union Pacific said was not hazardous. Trieber said the train crew was not injured. Workers cleaned the site and train operations resumed about 9 a.m. Sunday.
An area from the mall eastward beyond the airport was closed. A curfew was in effect for the community, Day said. Jonesboro, located about 70 miles northwest of Memphis, Tennessee, has a population of about 75,000.
In Oelwein, Iowa, a tornado tore off part of the wall of a 12-unit apartment building and damaged the siding of a second building in the complex. Police said no serious injuries were reported.
Apartment resident Jonathan Reinert said the storm damage left him without a place to stay during the coronavirus outbreak.
“I got no shelter in place now,” Reinert told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
Oelwein is a city of about 6,000 residents that’s about 140 miles northeast of the state capital of Des Moines.
In northern Illinois, a tornado that touched down in rural Ogle County near the town of Oregon was on the ground for roughly 10 minutes, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Gino Izzi. No injuries were reported.
High winds and a possible tornado damaged homes in the southwestern Indiana town of Newburgh. One person was hospitalized for minor injuries, according to Warrick County Sheriff Mike Wilder.

North Dakota governor requests COVID-19 disaster declaration

BISMARCK (AP) — Gov. Doug Burgum said Sunday he has requested a major presidential disaster declaration as the number of coronavirus cases in North Dakota approaches 100.
As of Sunday, the state reports 98 positive cases from state and private labs, up from 94 the previous day. One death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has been reported in North Dakota.
A disaster declaration by President Donald Trump would unlock federal aid to help North Dakota pay for its response to the pandemic, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
“Federal assistance is critical for our capability to expand North Dakota’s response to the rapidly evolving impacts of COVID-19,” Burgum said in the request dated Friday.
The request includes state modeling showing how widely the new virus could infect North Dakotans. Burgum wrote that 152,000 people could become infected over an 18-month period, including 22,000 who would require 14-day hospitalizations.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Burgum wrote that if projections hold true, North Dakota’s existing health care facilities “will rapidly exhaust capacity.” He said that the state would need to establish makeshift care facilities.

Students serve up cappuccinos, mochas at school coffee shop

MANDAN (AP) — A minute after the bell rang at 9:05 a.m. on a recent Friday, a line had formed by the main entrance to Mandan High School.
One by one, students approached some of their peers, placing orders for hot chocolate, mochas and caramel macchiatos, to name a few of the drinks offered twice a month at the Braves Bean Coffee Shop.
The shop is run by students in the school’s work experience class, including sophomore Mckenzie Meuchel, who typically serves up Irish cream-flavored cappuccinos. The drinks, so far, have been a hit with students walking between classes.
“It seems like it,” she said. “It’s been popular with more students than staff at this point.”
About 13 students man the coffee shop through the work experience class, which is part of the school’s special education curriculum. The kids spend part of the school day working in the community at restaurants, gas stations, the library and other places, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
“It helps our students who are in special education work on their money skills, their social skills and their work skills,” teacher Becca Voorhees said.
The coffee shop started up in January. The students have been running it every other Friday from 9-10:30 a.m., but it’s in limbo now due to the statewide school closure ordered by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Customers line up in front of the cash register, mulling over the menu and pulling out their wallets. The student workers relay their orders to classmates working behind the counter, who find the appropriate cups filled with hot chocolate mix or creamers and add either hot water or coffee to finish making the drink.
When each cup is ready to go, senior Brennan Davis calls out the name of the student who ordered the drink, hands it over, and tells the student to “have a nice day.”
“I love it,” he said. “I get to interact with other people I might not know around the school.”
As he took a break from his duties on a recent Friday, he said he would go to math class when the shop closed, then head to lunch. He planned to spend the afternoon at Mandan’s Pizza Ranch, where he buses tables, puts away dishes and folds boxes that store food during deliveries.
He sometimes works alongside a former work experience student who has held a job at the restaurant for six years. It’s a good environment in which to work, Davis said.
“If you have a question, they will help you out,” he said.
When the school year ends, Davis hopes to go to college, then a police academy.
Until then, he’ll continue handing out drinks at the high school. After spring break, the students plan to add iced coffee to the menu as the weather warms up.
The class purchases supplies online and through Sam’s Club, Voorhees said. The shop puts the money it makes back into purchasing more items for the next time it opens.
Eventually, Voorhees would like to include other students at the school in helping to run the coffee shop alongside those in her class.
“We see us doing it next year and having different equipment, carts, making it more of a coffee shop feel,” she said.

3 job search hacks that will get you hired

In today’s winner-take-all, ultra-competitive job market, smart candidates take full advantage of every opportunity to get ahead of the competition in order to get noticed and be taken seriously by today’s savvy hiring managers. Simply put, if you’re not approaching your job search with this level of all-or-nothing seriousness, then you’re putting yourself at a […]

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In today’s winner-take-all, ultra-competitive job market, smart candidates take full advantage of every opportunity to get ahead of the competition in order to get noticed and be taken seriously by today’s savvy hiring managers. Simply put, if you’re not approaching your job search with this level of all-or-nothing seriousness, then you’re putting yourself at a tremendous disadvantage—and are making it easier for more engaged candidates to succeed.

So, unless you just like the process of hunting for jobs with no end in sight, then it’s time to start taking your job search game to the next level. Regardless of your industry, age, background, skill set, or experience level, there are tried and tested hacks that you can take advantage of to help you cut through the competition, get off the job search treadmill, and lock down your next great job opportunity.

Maintain authenticity

These days, it’s harder than ever before to connect meaningfully with an HR manager or hiring personnel. They’re usually swamped with resumes and cover letters from highly polished candidates with similar backgrounds who overpromise and work tirelessly to come off as improbably flawless—so much so that it can be hard to tell one from another. If you aim to be the “perfect candidate,” not only will you get lost in the crowd, but you also will seem too good to be true to folks who have been in the recruiting world for a while and have incredibly sharp lie detection skills. Trying to put one past them can be a real risk.

Make the choice to be authentic at every stage of the job search process—avoid over-embellishing, exaggerating, and making outright lies. When telling the story of who you are on your documents and in interviews, be honest, forthright, and humble. Not only will it free you from the stress and anxiety of possibly getting tripped up by a lie, but you’ll come off as more relaxed, confident, and personable along the way—all wins for you.

Demonstrate value

Don’t be the candidate who expects the skies to open and the curtains to part for them when they’re on the job hunt trail. Remember, the purpose here is not for companies to show you how they can meet your needs and convince you that they’re worth devoting your time and effort—it’s the reverse. Your primary mission when hunting for a job is to demonstrate your value and show companies how you would be a real asset to their teams, not vice versa. Focus on explaining that you can recognize and anticipate their needs (and capably meet them), and you’ll be one step ahead of the competition—and several steps ahead of those entitled candidates who make all the wrong moves.

Do your homework

An unprepared candidate rarely finds success on the job hunt. Make sure that you’re fully prepared for every interaction you have, whether over email, during a phone conversation, or on an interview. Be well versed in the latest news, trends, and tools in your industry and learn what you can about each target company you meet with, including ideas for helping them relieve their pain points and ways that you can help them reach their target goals.

Don’t just keep this valuable info holstered in case it comes up—be proactive and showcase what you know when appropriate. The stakes are simply too high to leave things to chance, and you’ll put yourself one step ahead of candidates who spent more time picking out an interview outfit than preparing effectively.

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Are you ready to become a board member?

There are few sentences that carry as much “I’ve moved up in the world” cache as, “I’m on the board.” In the corporate world, having a seat on the board—the core group of advisors and decision-makers in an organization—is a major symbol of leadership. And as many organizations look to expand and diversify their boards […]

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There are few sentences that carry as much “I’ve moved up in the world” cache as, “I’m on the board.” In the corporate world, having a seat on the board—the core group of advisors and decision-makers in an organization—is a major symbol of leadership. And as many organizations look to expand and diversify their boards in order to bring in more and different perspectives to support their business, some of us who may not have been eligible before may be under consideration for such a seat.

Are you ready? Let’s look at some of the qualities (and steps you can take) that move you closer to that biggest step.

What kind of intelligence do you need?

In order to be a board member, a job title is often an entry point. But unless you’re a specific kind of VP (for example), it may be more about the qualities and experience you bring to the table. Part of this skill set is a mental transition as much as a seniority one.

Financial intelligence: One of the most effective ways to assert leadership is to accept responsibility for your group’s P&L or to learn how your group’s costs and revenue relate to the rest of the organization’s. It’s also important to understand the market in general outside your organization, and where your organization fits in.

Cultural intelligence: Work culture is more important than ever to the overall health of an organization. That means no group should be a silo. Make sure that you’re participating in initiatives across your company, or even your industry, to stay looped in on current trends.

Social intelligence: In short, talk to people! Talk to people throughout your organization, but especially those who already serve in board or leadership roles. It’s not necessarily about ingratiating yourself to score a board nomination (though let’s be honest, social capital can often help things along), but rather primarily about learning from others who have experience and understanding how the groups within your organization work together.

What kind of board member do you want to be?

Another major factor to consider is what kind of role on the board you anticipate filling. This goes back to your own personality, goals, and skill set. Are you the kind of person who sits back, listening to what everyone else has to say before making a decision? Are you the one leading the discussion? The whole point of a board is to have different voices weighing in, so you don’t need to worry about having a particular perspective or adhering to a specific philosophy. What you should do, however, is think about what kind of board member you would be. There are a few different archetypes of board member styles. Where do you fit in?

The Enforcer: Someone has to be the stickler for the rules, to make sure the organization is complying with rules and regulations while trying to build strategy and increase revenue.

The Data Wrangler: There’s usually at least one numbers wonk in any given corporate conference room, and in today’s data-driven workplace, this person fulfills an essential role. Focusing on metrics, performance, and predictive analytics can help guide organizational strategy.

The Legacy Builder: This board member focuses on how organizational decisions and strategy lay the groundwork for the company’s future, beyond current concerns. This requires balancing immediate operational and market needs with investing in the future.

The Big Picture Person: This is the person who sees what information, data, and feedback are coming in from different parts of the organization, and then looks at it holistically to see how the company is doing in the grander scheme of things.

The Diplomat: This is the person who tries to balance the voices and needs of all the different groups, making sure that each team or representative gets heard.

Again, there’s no “right” type board member, but understanding the dynamics of your own organization’s board can help you figure out where you would fit in (with your experience and style) and what value you could provide in the seat.

Whether you actually get invited to (or seated on) a board is a complex process and may depend on factors outside of your control. However, by stepping up your leadership skills and demonstrating your many accomplishments, you can help ensure that your name is in the conversation when the time comes.

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3 signs you should be working in HR

Are you searching for a career path that’s right for you? Depending on your background, interests, and skillset, you may want to take a closer look at the HR field and what it might have to offer. Although HR is a broad term that spans a wide spectrum of employment options, there are a few […]

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Are you searching for a career path that’s right for you? Depending on your background, interests, and skillset, you may want to take a closer look at the HR field and what it might have to offer. Although HR is a broad term that spans a wide spectrum of employment options, there are a few things that they all typically share: opportunities to source and attract key talent to staff an organization’s teams, directly help employees onboard effectively and achieve their professional goals, and support companies and develop and uphold their missions, cultures, and values.

HR professionals hold key roles in most organizations and contribute significantly to their short- and long-term viability and success. In today’s people-centric work culture, the role of HR professionals in helping companies promote progressive and positive work environments and project engaging and meaningful corporate brands has never been more important. For many individuals, their first interaction with a potential employer occurs through its HR personnel, so they’re often the face of the company and are charged with helping to craft strong first impressions in the minds of candidates—which is no small task in today’s ultra-competitive job market.

Does this all sound intriguing to you? If so, then a smart next step is to determine if you’re a good potential fit for the field. If the following signs seem to describe you perfectly, then it may be a good indication that you should be working in HR.

1. You like working with people

Have you always considered yourself a natural people person? Do you enjoy interacting with all sorts of individuals in all types of capacities? HR professionals typically love being at the front lines of the organizations they work for. It’s their job to deal directly with both current and prospective employees to help them achieve their professional goals, find fulfillment, and become valuable assets to their employers, by guiding them through the recruitment and onboarding processes throughout their tenures and even during the exit procedures and beyond. Does the notion of helping people in support of the company you work for sound appealing to you? If so, then the HR field may just be a good field for you to pursue.

2. You appreciate a challenge

HR pros are no stranger to challenges. The truth is, all sorts of issues can arise—and often do—in organizations during the normal course of business that fall upon HR departments to address. If you’re thinking about working in the HR field, you should expect to encounter issues ranging from talent recruitment and onboarding challenges, to staff development, to ensuring company compliance and dispute resolution, to handling sensitive and problematic employee concerns, to ensuring a positive and inclusive work environment, and much more. It can be said that there’s rarely a dull moment in the world of an HR professional, so if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t shy away from taking on new challenges every day, then maybe you should be working in the field.

3. You’re calm in a crisis

Are you known as a steady rudder in turbulent waters? When the heat is on and tensions are high, are you a calming element who’s good at diffusing difficult situations? When people in your life are dealing with tough issues, are you often the one they turn to for guidance? If you decide to pursue a career in human resources, you can count on having these skills called upon in a variety of situations. An effective HR professional is adept at calmly handling all manner of tricky, sensitive, and downright difficult situations, including everything from personal one-on-one employee issues to company-wide crises. If this seems like the sort of work you’re capable of handling, then perhaps this is the right path for you.

If you’re considering a career in HR, then it’s in your best interest to do your homework, research the field carefully, and try to determine if you’re a good potential fit. It’s certainly a good sign that you may be making a wise choice if the traits mentioned here apply to you. Good luck with your career exploration!

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3 steps to finding success at your new job

When you’re starting a new job, there’s a lot to be excited about. You’re at the beginning of a significant new chapter in your professional life that could be filled with amazing new opportunities. You’re about to be exposed to different people and ideas, and chances to challenge yourself with new projects, build new skills, […]

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When you’re starting a new job, there’s a lot to be excited about. You’re at the beginning of a significant new chapter in your professional life that could be filled with amazing new opportunities. You’re about to be exposed to different people and ideas, and chances to challenge yourself with new projects, build new skills, and reinforce or strengthen existing abilities. Who knows—it might even completely change the outlook and direction of your career journey!

Amidst all these new changes and exciting possibilities, there’s likely one overriding thought going through your mind as you prepare yourself for the first day at your new job: What will I need to do to be successful? After all, you’ve likely gone through an arduous hiring process and worked hard to convince your new employer that you’ll be a valuable addition to their team—and now you want to deliver on that promise. You don’t only want to fit in well, you also want to stand out and shine.

In fact, you may be so eager to start your new job off on the right foot that you’re having some small-scale (or not so small-scale) anxiety over just how to make this happen. If so, then fear not—although jobs are like snowflakes and no two are identical, there are some proven strategies that you can follow to help tip the odds in your favor that your new job will be a success.

1. Make a stellar first impression

We’re all aware of the lasting power of first impressions, and the notion holds true for all aspects of life—especially when starting a new job. The first few days of a new job will likely entail an intense array of making first impressions as you meet and get to know your new colleagues. This is an incredibly important time in this step of your professional journey for many reasons, but chief among them is that you’re forming the foundation of new professional relationships that will likely persist throughout your tenure at this new job.

Conversely, lackluster or downright poor first impressions can be difficult to overcome and could close doors to new collaborations, projects, and opportunities.  So … take your first meetings seriously! Making an extra effort to forge great first impressions with absolutely everyone you come across in the first few days at your new job—from subordinates to higher ups, and even those folks with whom you’ll have little or no contact with on a regular basis—is a fantastic investment in your future success and will help boost your overall satisfaction and happiness.

2. Go the extra mile

Sure, when starting off a new job you want to “check off all the boxes” of your specific job roles and responsibilities. But why not take things a few steps further in an effort to kick things off well? Be on the lookout for opportunities to go the extra mile and help your coworkers in any way possible. Yes, you’re likely going to be in a hyper-focused “learning mode” when just starting a new job and learning the ins and outs of the company and your place in the structure, but if you can demonstrate to your new colleagues that you’re the sort of person that they can really count on for support, including everything from small gestures to time- and labor-intensive assistance, it can go a long way to helping you create positive working relationships and new allies amongst your colleagues—which are key factors in workplace success.

3. Stay humble, no matter what

Humility is an often overlooked and under-appreciated notion, but who among us doesn’t have experience with a new colleague who starts off a new job pretending that they know everything and need to learn nothing, and proceeds to make mistake after mistake while hiding in their defensive shell and blaming everyone and everything for their initial failures? Things typically don’t work out very well for these folks, do they?

A much better approach is to start off a new job being humble, open to learning and constructive feedback, and willing to consider new ideas and ways of doing things—even if they’re completely different from what you’ve known up until this point. After all, no one is going to expect you to know absolutely everything when just starting out at a new job, and relying on your coworkers for guidance can help you build solid relationships. Furthermore, regardless of your industry or position, those of us who remain humble and open to change are best positioned to adapt, grow, and find success in today’s rapidly evolving work world.

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