If I was Grand Forks’ mayor for a day, here is my Addendum to the Declaration of Public Health Emergency, issued March 17.
Whereas, to save lives, it is better to be safe than sorry in the fight against COVID-19, the following aggressive and specific efforts to “flatline the curve” will be taken to reduce chances of overwhelming resources at Altru Hospital: It is not worth gambling that the 21 beds they have at this time in the Intensive Care Unit, along with 50 total ventilators, will be enough.
Whereas, efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are paramount. Therefore, in partnership with Altru Hospital we urge all people; including the homeless, illegal immigrants, and underinsured living in Grand Forks to get medical help immediately if they think they have been exposed. For the safety of all taxpayers no one is to worry about paying. We will find a way to pay for it.
Whereas, some working parents need help with children not in school. Therefore, we are collaborating with the state to relax laws for limits on children in daycares -- a little. Furthermore, we will issue temporary daycare permits for those who want to help. All with prudent respect for concerns over “community spread.”
Whereas, in this crisis there may be citizens in need of food. Therefore, we are centrally coordinating the efforts of local food pantries. Furthermore, we applaud stores with special hours for seniors only.
Whereas, COVID-19 is “community spreading.” Therefore, we will screen all travelers through our airport (on 3-16-20 there was nothing) and urge them to self-quarantine for 14 days. The appropriate level of screening will be determined by Altru Hospital.
Whereas, tracking the spread of COVID-19 is critical. Therefore, we urge everyone to journal and note; where you went, with whom you interacted, and at what time -- in case that information is needed.
Whereas, more COVID-19 test kits will be coming. Therefore, we are preparing for local testing when enough become available. To contain potential hot spots, our goal is to assure that our citizens can be tested as needed.
Regardless, act like you have it, practice physical distancing, and self-quarantine if you can.