Weather Forecast


Lake City emergency department to be remodeled: Health briefs

A $1.1 million renovation of Mayo Clinic Health System's emergency department in Lake City will improve patient experience as well as patient and staff safety, according to a news release. Construction will begin this summer. "Our remodeled ED will improve our capacity to care for more patients. The remodel will also improve functionality, privacy and safety," said Dr. Brian Whited, vice chair of operations and incoming CEO of health system locations in Cannon Falls, Lake City and Red Wing.

Highlights of the remodel include:

• Four private treatment rooms to allow staff to safely and privately care for multiple patients. Currently, the ED has one private and two curtained treatment spaces.

• Added safety features for patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

• A separate ED entrance away from the hospital entrance which will offer added safety for patients and staff.

• Patients who arrive by ambulance will have a separate entrance from patients who arrive on their own. This will help improve overall flow.

• Families and visitors will have a comfortable waiting area available to them in the ED during a typically stressful time.

Mayo Clinic Health System also intends to renovate and expand the hospital in Lake City, but plans and timelines have not yet been finalized.

Event to support global disability organization

Red Wing-based nonprofit Disability Support International will host "Love Poured Out," an awareness and fundraising event from 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at Oliver's Wine Bar. The event aims to share information and raise funds to begin work in Cambodia helping children and adults with disabilities.

"We, at DSI, are working to address the systemic cycle of disability and poverty, and firmly believe that we have the means to do it now," DSI Board Chair Elizabeth Schrader said in a news release. "The needs are immense and often overwhelming, but we know that if we come together toward this cause, we can bring about lasting change for those needing it most."

Tickets to the event are $25, which includes hors d'oeuvres and two drinks. Tickets are available at Oliver's Wine Bar and online at

Ellsworth to host immunization clinics

Pierce County Health Department will hold immunization clinics from 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, and 3-5 p.m. Wednesday. Feb. 22, at the Pierce County Office Building, 412 W. Kinne St., Ellsworth. The clinic is for children through 18 years of age who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, American Indian or Alaska Native, or have insurance without vaccine coverage. Some adult vaccinations also are available for a fee. For more information or to make an appointment, call 715-273-6755.

Report: Smoking claims more than 6,000 lives, costs Minnesotans $3 billion annually

A new report commissioned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota shows that each year, smoking is responsible for 6,312 deaths and $3.19 billion in excess medical costs. The economic burden on taxpayers, employers and governments equates to $593 for every adult and child in the state, according to the report titled "Health Care Costs and Smoking in Minnesota." The $3.19 billion in excess health care costs associated with smoking could also fund:

• 6,380 fire trucks

• 200 libraries

• 58,000 four-year degrees

• 79,750 jobs at $40,000 each

• 10 state capitol renovations

"Over the years, we've seen great progress throughout our state, as awareness of the harms of commercial tobacco has increased, and policies have been established that protect the health of many Minnesotans," said Janelle Waldock, vice president of community health and health equity at Blue Cross, in a news release. "However, it is clear that deep inequities persist when it comes to commercial tobacco use. As a result, many communities are at a greater risk for premature death and disease, both through the direct impacts of smoking, as well as exposure to secondhand smoke." Research for the report was completed through a consulting agreement with Dr. Robert Ohsfeldt, regents professor at Texas A&M University and Dr. Andrea Lorden, assistant professor at Oklahoma University.

The report is available online at