Area Briefs


MOORHEAD – On Friday, May 14, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced the end of Minnesota’s statewide mask requirement, aligning Minnesota with new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on face coverings. 

Effective immediately:

Masks and social distancing are not required in City of Moorhead buildings and on City of Moorhead property. People who are not fully vaccinated (two weeks since final vaccine dose) are recommended to wear face coverings indoors and practice social distancing.

There are no (pandemic) limitations on meeting and event attendance.

Masks are still required when riding on the MATBUS system – per the CDC and the US Department of Transportation guidelines – though Sept. 13, 2021.This also applies to transportation on planes, trains, buses, and other forms of public transportation in the U.S.

You may wear a mask indoors or outdoors for any reason. CDC guidelines encourage people with underlying health conditions to continue to wear masks indoors even if they have been vaccinated.



 FARGO – Cass County residents who are homebound and therefore unable to obtain COVID-19 vaccine through their provider, a pharmacy, or other vaccine clinic are encouraged to contact Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) to inquire about access to vaccine through one of the FCPH mobile missions. Suzanne Schaefer, FCPH Director of Nursing, says, “We know there are members of our community who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to leave their home to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Our mobile vaccine mission may be a good fit for those individuals, so we’re inviting them to contact us to explore that option.”

 In an effort to make COVID-19 vaccine more accessible to members of the community, FCPH has implemented a number of mobile missions, which bring vaccine to individuals who are not able to attend an on-site clinic. Currently, FCPH is working through referrals from healthcare providers and other area partners to administer vaccine to individuals who are homebound but would like to make more of the community aware of this option. Individuals and/or caregivers who would like to learn more are invited to contact FCPH at 701.298.6951 for additional information and to complete the screening process.

FCPH continues to host twice-weekly COVID-19 vaccine clinics at its main location for individuals currently eligible to receive vaccine. Information about upcoming clinics hosted by FCPH is available on its website:



In an effort to be more transparent about health care costs and help our patients make informed decisions, Essentia Health is expanding pre-service estimates for all scheduled surgical services.

Essentia will provide an estimate of any deductible and out-of-pocket cost based on a patient’s insurance plan. The program started May 3 and is an expansion of our adherence to the Patient Estimate Transparency initiative, which began providing radiology-service estimates in December.

Estimates come from historical services billed by Essentia. To ensure accuracy, our providers will communicate specific scheduled procedures and surgeries ahead of time, and patients will receive price-estimate communications once their procedure has been scheduled. Our goal is for each estimate to be as accurate as possible, but in some instances there could be variability.

Informing patients up front helps eliminate unexpected bills and allows Essentia to proactively communicate about options to make health care more affordable. The communication sent with patients’ estimates will inform them about interest-free payment plans, financial assistance, free Medicaid enrollment services and various real-time payment options —credit cards, cash or check, for example — if they are interested. Our financial-counseling teams are available to assist patients with these options.

“Patients deserve to know prior to their service what their insurance plan will cover and what their insurance will leave as their responsibility,” said Melanie Wilson, vice president of revenue services at Essentia. “It offers peace of mind and ensures coverage is verified, costs are discussed, and payment arrangements are made in advance.”

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