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Cows and Contentment: News in Northfield

<ong>H1N1 changes hospital visitor policy

Foreheads are heating up all across Northfield. 11 patients have been confirmed as having H1N1 at Northfield Hospital in the past two weeks. The sudden surge of cases has forced new changes in Northfield Hospital’s visitor policy.

The hospital is requesting that only immediate family members visit patients and that they limit the visiting party’s number to three at a time. Those with influenza-like illness should not visit either. The new policies aim to contain the flu and keep the hospital less crowded. The emergency room has become busier recently with an increasing number of patients arriving with flu-like symptoms. Northfield Hospital Chief Operating Office Mary Crow stated that about ten people with flu-like symptoms come to the ER every day, placing an extra strain on the Hospital in this difficult time. Hospital staff received the H1N1 vaccine to protect them from the virus this week. Supplies of the vaccine have not yet been released to the public.

October has brought the H1N1 virus to Minnesota. Five Minnesotans have died in the past two weeks from the virus, bringing the state total to 12. Since July, there have been 17 confirmed cases of H1N1 at Northfield Hospital.

To help reduce the number of people pouring into ER rooms statewide, Minnesota FluLine, a 24-hour hotline to help those with flu-like symptoms, was introduced last week. By FluLine’s second day, the hotline had already gotten 1,100 calls and needed extra staff to handle the overload. The hotline allows nurses to prescribe anti-viral medicine over the phone for patients.

Police get bus

You might think it would be okay to drink outside underage around that bus, until you discover that the bus is actually a police vehicle! The Northfield Police Department recently bought a used Northfield transit bus to serve as a traveling command station. It hopes to have the bus up and running for use by January.

The bus will be equipped with up to $12,000 worth of equipment including portable radios, a dispatch station, a weather-monitoring radar unit, and wireless Internet. The traveling command post will be used to help police and emergency services coordinate their roles on the scene of a major accident, disaster or emergency. The bus will also come in use when large numbers of police are needed such as at during the Defeat of Jesse James Days and SWAT team deployments.

NPD previously tried to convert a trailer the department bought as a command post but they decided that the bus is much more “mobile” than a trailer.

Swanson wants to stay as city attorney

Maren Swanson wants to remain the Northfield city attorney, according to a letter to the Northfield mayor and City Council. Swanson has served as city attorney for twenty years but that relationship may end soon.

Earlier this month, City Administrator Joel Wallinski said that his staff would recommend to the City Council to hire two other attorneys to represent the city in its civil matters and to serve as its prosecutor.

Swanson was unaware that the city would be dismissing her and her firm, the Lampe Law Group. However she stated in her letter that should the city want to retain her law partner, Tim Morissette, as city prosecutor but not keep her, her firm would be willing to negotiate its hourly rate.

Mayor Mary Rossing said that the recommendation not to continue with Lampe Law Group was not based on the firm’s performance.

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