A caller to the Herald Friday urged the newspaper to do something, anything, about what he feels is a laissez faire attitude about the coronavirus pandemic.
The caller had recently been in a store and saw an employee, among customers, sneeze on a certain product and seemingly not care.
“No masks, no gloves. All of a sudden, a huge sneeze comes out of him,” he said. “I almost got into it with him, but figured it wasn’t the right thing to do.”
The caller isn’t the only one who has seen disturbing sights during the pandemic. A Herald employee was in a restaurant recently and saw customers standing near each other while waiting for food orders. A single pen was used for signatures on receipts, without being sanitized between use.
When will Greater Grand Forks residents universally understand the importance of social distancing, hygiene and staying at home?
Perhaps it will sink in this weekend, as residents learn about the outbreak at LM Wind Power, the Grand Forks business that produces wind turbine blades. In recent days, numerous employees there have tested positive for coronavirus, including more than 60 in a span between Friday and Saturday.
North Dakota’s total positive coronavirus cases is 528. Of those, 99 are in Grand Forks County, which until recently had among the lowest coronavirus counts in the state.
The outbreak is so sudden that it was the focal point of Gov. Doug Burgum’s daily press conference Saturday. During the televised event, he issued a quarantine order for all LM Wind Power plant employees, whether they tested positive, whether they tested negative or whether they have not been tested.
“We know that in a city the size of Grand Forks, if you have this many positives and this many team members, you could have rapid spread,” Burgum said.
The governor said this should be a lesson for employers throughout the state.
Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, too, is urging residents to heed these obvious warnings about the spread of coronavirus.
“We anticipate this to be a prolonged battle. As we have said before, it will be a marathon, not a sprint,” Brown said via telephone during Burgum’s press conference Saturday. “I have faith and confidence that what we have in place can and will work.”
And then the mayor, who also is a longtime doctor, gave this stern reminder: “The citizens of Grand Forks … need to stay home. Only go out for essential trips. Practice physical distancing. Sanitize frequently used surfaces and practice good hygiene. Stay home. Stay home for our nurses and doctors. Stay home for our public health professionals. Stay home for our police officers and firefighters. Stay home for our elderly and those with preexisting conditions.”
He also urged residents to “take responsibility for the health of Grand Forks.”
As Grand Forks news dominates the governor’s press conferences, are we finally ready to be serious about the pandemic?