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5 things to know today: Grand Forks County jail, East Grand Forks business aid, NCHC Pod broadcast, UND football spring season, Q&A with Debbie Swanson

The Grand Forks County Correctional Center, photographed in January, has one inmate and one staff member who recently have tested positive for COVID-19. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

1. Nearly half the population of Grand Forks County jail tests positive for COVID-19

Eighty-five people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Grand Forks County Correctional Center on Tuesday, Nov. 17. There is a total of 88 COVID-19-positive people incarcerated in the jail, which had a total population of 195 on Tuesday.

GFCCC Administrator Bret Burkholder said the majority of the facility has been placed on lockdown and is in isolation. There are positive cases in 16 out of 20 housing units in the jail.

2. East Grand Forks business aid came at right time, mayor says

East Grand Forks’ mayor thanked the workers who administered the city’s most recent round of COVID-19 business relief, plus other administrators grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” Mayor Steve Gander said at a City Council meeting on Tuesday.

3. Midco Sports Network to broadcast all 40 NCHC Pod games; Dave Starman and Ben Holden added to team

The first time Alex Heinert heard rumblings about the possibility of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference bringing all eight league members to one destination to reel off games in December, he began imagining possibilities.


Heinert, the Midco Sports Network play-by-play announcer, didn't know where the NCHC Pod would be at that time -- or if it would happen at all -- but he began brainstorming with colleagues about the possibility of broadcasting many, if not all, of the games.

4. UND football sets home kickoff times for spring season

UND has set the football program's home kickoff times for the spring season, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 20 against Missouri State at the Alerus Center.

The Fighting Hawks are expected to play their first season in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in an abbreviated slate in the spring due to the ongoing pandemic.

5. With a vaccine in sight, still necessary to wear masks, keep distance: Swanson

Director of Public Health Debbie Swanson said the state could receive 21,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in early December.

Of that number, only a few thousand doses would likely make their way to Grand Forks County, where they would be distributed to health care workers and those working in long-term care facilities. Swanson said the vaccines, which she called “our last line of defense in terms of addressing COVID” are in the third stage of clinical trials.

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