The Faribault City Council held a special meeting Sunday to declare a local state of emergency for the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.  The declaration came on the heels of a Emergency Executive Order 20-01 signed by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announcing a peacetime emergency in the state.

City Emergency Management Director Dustin Dienst was on our KDHL AM Minnesota today to give us more details about the city declaration.  Part of the Governor's announcement Sunday called for all Minnesota K-12 schools to close by Wednesday, March 18, 2020 through March 27th.

Dienst says the order for closure of schools is one of the reasons the city decided to hold their special meeting when they did.  With any closure the library usually sees an increase in patrons so to limit exposure Buckham Memorial Library closed today and will be through March 31st.

Additionally library staff will be on site and can be reached by phone or email to assist with digital offerings available on the library website.  The library will be announcing additional remote resources as they become available.

Dienst state the emergency declaration, "Allows us to make decisions and move forward in a quicker manner.  It allows us to not have to wait for a three day notice for a public meeting. "  Reaction to events can more readily happen as they happen.

Dienst says, "The formal action by the City Council goes through March 31, provides emergency contracts and agreements are not subject to the normal purchasing and competitive bidding requirements."

"In pandemics, we've been through a few, we learned a lot in the last ones.  We start out in the containment phase, which we were in until about last week.  Where we try to contain it and stop it that way. Once we decide or have learned that's not feasible then we move into the community mitigation phase which we are in now.  It means because of the word community being in there it involves everybody.  It involves social distancing, the shutting down and not having, going from 250 minimum crowd gatherings to 50."

"We all cross our fingers that if people follow the rules and the guidelines put out by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) that this will shorten the extent of time we have to do this.  But once we start breaking those rules and the spread continues like in Italy, we're trying to avoid a total city, state, country lock down by easing into it here.  If people follow these rules, we don't know this for sure because this is all new territory, but the theory is that we won't get to that point."

Other Coronavirus, COVID-19 related announcements in the are listed below:

  • Faribault Community Cafe will still have a meal Tuesday but there will only be take out meals available.
  • Three Rivers Community Action wanted Faribault Meals on Wheels clients to be aware meals would be delivered Monday but could be interrupted sometime in the near future.
  • Helen Aase with Kenyon SEMCAC Dining says that service has been cancelled until future notice.
  • The 20th Annual Memorial Field Pasta Supper Fundraiser in Wanamingo has been postponed.
  • The Rice County 4-H sponsored Blood Drive scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 has been postponed.  They hope to reschedule in the future.
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