area briefs

MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ANNOUNCES FINAL OFFERING OF FREE COVID-19 TESTS

The Minnesota Department of Health today announced that four additional free at-home rapid tests are available to all Minnesota households through the state’s online ordering program. This will be the last chance for Minnesotans to get free tests before the program ends.

Minnesotans will be able to order four tests per household. Order your free at-home rapid tests on mn.gov/covid19.

“Since the state’s free test program began last April, more than 2.5 million free tests have been delivered to Minnesota households,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Brooke Cunningham. “Testing is essential in getting the proper treatment to those who need it and preventing the spread of COVID-19, and the state’s free online ordering program made it simple for Minnesotans in every corner of the state to easily access critical testing.”

Minnesotans can also place orders through the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline at 1-833-431-2053 Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Language assistance is available.

MOORHEAD LIBRARY TO HOST PRESENTATION BY POLAR EXPLORER LONNIE DUPRE JAN. 28

MOORHEAD – Experience the adventure of polar travel with a dynamic multi-media presentation by Minnesota polar explorer and mountaineer Lonnie Dupre. On Saturday, January 28 at 2 p.m., Dupre will present at the Moorhead Public Library, 118 5th St. S., about life on the trail, teamwork, overcoming obstacles and his observations of climate change. Attendees will enjoy breathtaking images and videos, Arctic gear and more. This program is offered as part of Frostival and admission is free-of-charge thanks in part to funding from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

Dupre, who lives in Grand Marais, Minnesota, has over 15,000 miles of Arctic expedition travel by dogsled, ski, and by kayak. While using non-motorized means of travel, he has led several major expeditions including: the Russian Far East, first west to east winter crossing of Canada’s Northwest Passage, first and only circumnavigation of Greenland’s 6500-mile coastline and two North Pole expeditions.

MATBUS EXTENDING HOURS OF SERVICE

FARGO – Beginning Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, all MATBUS services (including fixed route, MAT Paratransit and TapRide) will extend the hours of operation to the new end time of 10:15 p.m. Additional route changes taking effect on Jan. 9, will include increasing frequency on routes 13 and 15 and efficiency improvements to routes 15, 18 and 20. These changes to the route maps and timetables will help improve reliability and on-time performance for MATBUS riders. For full details on these changes, please visit matbus.com.

Since Jan. 10, 2022, MATBUS fixed routes and MAT Paratransit services have been ending at 9:45 p.m. due to driver shortages. This temporary reduction in hours has now been extended to 10:15 p.m. MATBUS will continue to suspend official service hours from 10:15 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. until further notice due to ongoing staffing shortages.

Any future service adjustments will be communicated to the public on matbus.com and MATBUS social media pages and through press releases sent to local media outlets. MATBUS riders are also encouraged to register for Rider Alerts, which allows participants to receive direct emails related to upcoming announcements. For full details on these changes and to register for alerts, visit matbus.com.

MINNESOTANS FISH FREE WITH KIDS JAN. 14-16

Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend is Saturday, Jan. 14, through Monday, Jan. 16.

During the three-day weekend, any Minnesota resident can go ice fishing for free if fishing with a child 15 years old or younger. Minnesotans 15 years old or younger don’t need fishing licenses any time of the year.

“Ice fishing is pure, simple fun for both kids and adults,” said Benji Kohn, volunteer mentor program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “For anyone who wants to try ice fishing, we have helpful information on our website to get you started on the way toward drilling holes through the ice and catching fish.”

Check the DNR’s learn to ice fish page (mndnr.gov/GoFishing/Learn-Ice-Fish.html) for more information about ice fishing, including a recorded webinar with tips and techniques anglers can use to have fun catching sunfish, crappie and perch.

ND MEDICAID EXTENDS HEALTH CARE COVERAGE FOR PREGNANT AND NEW MOTHERS

BISMARCK, N.D. – On Jan. 1, 2023, North Dakota Health and Human Services’ Medicaid program extended health care coverage for eligible pregnant and new mothers from 60 days to 12 months after pregnancy to help improve maternal and child health outcomes and overall well-being.

The 12-months of continuous coverage will provide qualifying individuals access to checkups after birth, behavioral health services and preventive care like mammograms and cervical screenings. The extended coverage also covers dental care, vision and hearing screenings, chiropractic care and other vital health care services.

“Extending Medicaid coverage after pregnancy helps ensure that women have the care they need during their child’s first year of life,” said Interim Medical Services Division Director Krista Fremming. “This aligns with our vision to make North Dakota the healthiest state in the nation by investing in people’s economic, behavioral and physical health, which are the foundations of well-being.”

To qualify for this extended coverage, current ND Medicaid members and new applicants must inform a human service zone office that they are pregnant before they give birth. Contact information for human service zone offices is online at hhs.nd.gov/human-service/zones.

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