Staff Directory 10645091

Glenn Howatt

Editor | Computer-Assisted Reporting
Phone: 612-673-7192
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Glenn Howatt has been with the Star Tribune since 1990 where he has specialized in health care reporting and data journalism.


Howatt is a recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for a series of stories exposing deaths of children in under-regulated day care homes. He was also a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Local Reporting for a series on Minnesota's dehumanizing treatment of the disabled. He also received the Gerald Loeb Award in 2011 for reporting on the debt collection industry and in 2015 for reporting on the home health care industry, which also received the 2015 Barlett and Steele Silver Award. He holds a master's of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he studied urban geography. He also has a journalism master of arts degree from the same institution where he specialized in the use of Census data by newspapers.
Recent content from Glenn Howatt
Supporters of long term care facilities and of Saint Therese New Hope came out to support Saint Therese workers coming and going during the afternoon

Live: Latest updates and what you need to know about COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus spreads across the world, we've answered reader question about what they most want to know about the outbreak.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. Enrollment in the state’s two government health insurance programs for low-income Minnesotans has increased by about 150,00

Minnesota government health insurance rolls grow with high unemployment

Many people don't enroll in public health insurance programs immediately after they become unemployed.
Elizabeth Santoro, left, and Kristin Anderson, medics with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, sanitized and prepared for their next

29 new COVID-19 deaths as cases increase by 404 in Minnesota

The number of people requiring hospitalization has fallen since it peaked at 606 inpatients on May 28.
A Minnesota National Guardsman fielded questions for people waiting in line for a free COVID-19 test.

372 more COVID-19 cases with 14 new deaths in Minnesota

Now 439 nursing homes or assisted living facilities still have at least one case, which at some places could be an infected staff member.
Elizabeth Santoro, a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, administered a free COVID-19 test in Robbinsdale. [Credit: Aaron

22 more deaths and 310 new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota

A total of 25,508 people have been diagnosed, although many more cases have not been detected through testing, according to state officials.
Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota

Minnesota protests challenge contact tracing of COVID-19

Tracking down people exposed to the COVID-19 virus could get tougher following civil unrest; protesters encouraged to seek testing.
Minnesota has purchased the Bix Produce Co.’s former cold storage facility in St. Paul to use as a temporary morgue, bracing for a peak in COVID-19

Pandemic leads to 20% increase in overall deaths in Minnesota

In just seven weeks, the additional fatalities have cut into generations and communities, especially the elderly and people of color.
Becky Wigstrom, who works at a nearby U.S. Bank branch, stopped in to talk to Mad Capper co-owners Jeff and Tammy Chilson about whether their Stillwat

Gov. Walz sticks to the plan for now with Minnesota restaurants

No changes to Monday implementation of outdoor dining, but some restaurant restrictions could be lifted in next phase of opening up economy
Elizabeth Santoro, a medic with the Minnesota Air National Guard 133rd Medical Group, tossed her gloves after administering a COVID-19 test Saturday a

Minn. reports 33 more COVID-19 deaths with 510 new cases

There have been 932 deaths from the pandemic, including 759 among residents of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities.
Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota

Health experts: Reopening businesses in Minnesota will spread COVID-19, but how much?

Increased transmission is inevitable when economies reopen, but the big question is whether the increase will be manageable.
It's still important to keep your child up to date on their vaccines.

Minnesota's child vaccinations drop amid COVID-19 fears

In Minnesota, there's been a 70% drop in measles vaccine doses given compared with a year ago, according to state health officials.
"We’ve known since the beginning that long term care facilities ... face an elevated risk for outbreaks,” said Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, sh

Minnesota 'battle plan' addresses COVID-19 in long-term care

The plan includes more testing and health screening, using state stockpiles of personal protective equipment and greater coordination with local health care systems.
A North Memorial transport worker held a bottle of disinfectant outside North Ridge Health and Rehabilitatioin in New Hope. [Credit: DAVID JOLES, Star

Minnesota COVID-19 cases jump by 786 with 23 more deaths

Testing continues to ramp up, with 4,189 tests performed, which is an increase but so far state and private labs have not passed the 5,000 mark.
The MDA/MDH Lab Building located at the corner of Robert and 12th streets in St. Paul.

Minnesota needs up to 4,000 more workers to track COVID-19

Contact tracers are a vital part of the "test, trace and isolate" strategy that the state has embraced to control the spread of the coronavirus.
Michael Osterholm, is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

U report: COVID-19 cases could surge in autumn

The pandemic could last up to two years, according to University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm and a team of researchers.
Abigail DeLisle, member of the Duluth NAACP health and environmental equity committee, handed out a free mask to a community member. [Credit: ALEX KOR

28 more Minnesota deaths with 594 new cases

Testing continues to ramp up with 4,553 patient samples run Thursday, pushing the number of known cases to 5,730.
Ivy Vainio, co-chair of the NAACP communications committee, handed out a bottle of hand sanitizer in Duluth on Wednesday. [Credit: ALEX KORMANN, Star

Minnesota reports 492 new COVID cases, 24 more deaths

Increased testing is beginning to capture more of the infections that have spread throughout the state.
Medical Assistant Courtney Banks prepared to administer a COVID-19 test at their drive up testing site in front of St. Luke's Miller Creek Medical Cli

Is there a gender difference in how COVID-19 affects men and women?

Women and men each make up 50% of the state's confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. However, as of mid-April, about 60% of the deaths were in men, the state Health Department said.
A pedestrian wearing a mask walked by an American flag mural painted on the side of the Uptown VFW along Lyndale Avenue S., near Lake Street on April

When is COVID-19 most contagious? When are you no longer considered contagious?

People sickened by COVID-19 are most infectious when they are showing symptoms, including fever, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz wore a Twins-themed face mask in and out of the press conference to announce the state's new testing strategy in late April 20

What's the best way to prepare for COVID-19 and to prevent its spread?

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, much like influenza, and while there's not a vaccine for it, there are ways to cope. The precautions used to fight influenza are the same ones that people should be using to stave off coronavirus and other respiratory diseases.
Studio manager Elizabeth Sousek cleaned cleaned the studio bars at Life Time Fitness with Purell surface disinfectant more frequently on surfaces arou

Can the coronavirus live on surfaces outside the body, and for how long?

The most common method of catching COVID-19 is by inhaling respiratory droplets created when an infected person sneezes or coughs, but the virus can survive on surfaces for varying amounts of time.
At least 13 residents of this Catholic Eldercare nursing home in northeast Minneaplis have died of COVID-19, and eight other residents have contracted

13 dead from COVID-19 at Catholic nursing home in Mpls.

Catholic Eldercare reported the outbreak in a letter to family members and said it had begun to isolate residents infected with COVID-19 in a designated section of its 174-bed nursing home at 817 Main Street NE.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann and State Epidemiologist Dr. Ruth Lynfield prepared for a briefi

As coronavirus spreads across Minnesota, contact tracers are in demand

As case counts surge with more testing, there aren't enough investigators to keep up with the work.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz stressed the new state approach of dialing up or down restrictions goes both ways and that businesses need to be prepared for

100,000 Minnesotans could be back to work by Monday

The work­places will in­clude in­dus­trial, manu­fac­tur­ing and of­fice set­tings that had not been clas­si­fied as criti­cal in­dus­tries un­der the state's stay-at-home ord­er.
Peter Welles walked his dog Monday on Bde Maka Ska Parkway, where traffic cones are placed to make traffic flow just one way.

21 more deaths push Minnesota COVID-19 fatalities to 200

Thursday's death count, the highest yet, is the third consecutive day with double-digit totals. Another 221 people have tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, also a daily high.
A sign at the entrance to the Uptown Target store declares that it is not a CDC testing center.

Given limited testing, what's the real number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota?

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, we've asked readers what they most want to know about its impact, prevention and treatment. This is an answer to…
St. Therese of New Hope said it is working with state officials to quarantine infected residents.

New Hope nursing home has one of state's worst outbreaks

At least 12 residents of a large senior care community in New Hope have died of the novel coronavirus, representing one of the state's deadliest outbreaks of the respiratory illness at a single site.
Regions Hospital healthcare workers came outside the hospital Wednesday to thank Xcel Energy crew members who had gathered outside Regions Hospital to

COVID-19 deaths in long-term care draw focus

The facilities have been linked to 113 of Minnesota's 160 COVID-19 deaths, but health officials urged people not to be complacent about broader risks.
Kristen Davis, LPN, left, undergoes fit-testing for an N95 mask at a training session presented by the Virginia Department of Health's Medical Reserve

State asks Minnesota corporations to help acquire protective gear in COVID-19 fight

In an effort to protect those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, state officials are enlisting the purchasing skills of Minnesota’s largest…
Medical workers administered drive-up COVID-19 tests this weekend outside the Sanford Worthington Clinic in southwest Minnesota. [Credit: Aaron Lavins

114 new Minnesota COVID cases, 9 more deaths

This marks the sixth consecutive day when 100 or more confirmed cases were reported by state health officials. Nobles County, home to the JBS pork processing plant, had 16 new cases.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz provides an update on the state's response to COVID-19 during a news conference on Friday, April 17, 2020.

Walz: Moves to open up will be gradual ones

While the debate about stay-at-home continues, Minnesota on Friday reported some of the largest one-day increases in confirmed cases and deaths.
On April 8, 2020, Gov. Tim Walz provided an update on the state’s next steps to respond to COVID-19. He was joined by Health Commissioner Jan Malcol

17 more COVID-19 deaths; Minn. cases top 2,000

Seventeen more Minnesotans have died — a new daily high —and another 159 people tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Minnesota Health Department.
Mostly masked customers waited outside Trader Joe's in Edina and were allowed in as other customers left to avoid overcrowding in the store. Here Joe

Minnesota sees 8 more deaths, 114 new cases of COVID-19

Another 20 COVID-19 cases required hospital care since Tuesday, including 18 who needed intensive care.
New Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead called key lawmakers personally on Monday to inform them of the new round of costly mista

Minnesota DHS computer system errors cost state nearly $80M

As a result of deficiencies in the METS system, county caseworkers were required to manually review 37% of 624,000 cases over a 15-month period.
Celeste Ekberg touched the window screen outside the room of her son, Josh Borgh, while visiting him at Peace of Mind group home in Duluth on Tuesday.

Minn. COVID-19 cases show tragedies, trends

Death certificate records reveal the things the state's first victims had in common and what made them unique.
***EMBARGOED, PLEASE ASK BEFORE USING THIS PHOTO***Validation for Coronavirus testing is taking place at Mayo Clinic where Brian Howell, a lab technol

When is COVID-19 most contagious? What does it take to be considered 'recovered'?

And new research finds that anyone infected with the new coronavirus can be infectious, even those without symptoms.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz provided an update on the state’s next steps to respond to COVID-19 at a news conference Wednesday. He was joined by Health

Walz extends stay-at-home order to May 4

Schools, bars and restaurants in Minnesota will remain closed to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus now has caused 1,154 lab-confirmed illnesses and 39 deaths.
“If we collapse and the other centers do as well, it will be a domino effect that will overwhelm the hospital system,” said Karina Forrest-Perkins

Visits and revenue are dropping at Minnesota's safety-net clinics

Primary care visits are down significantly, creating financial problems for clinics but also potentially setting the stage for a wave of patients needing hospital emergency care at a time when COVID-19 is straining the system.
A growing number of hospitalizations may stretch facilities such as HCMC to the limit.

With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising in state, deal reached on treatment costs

Out-of-pocket treatment costs for some patients will be waived under an agreement announced with nonprofit insurers, along with other moves.
Retired registered nurse Cindy Larson took a patient's temperature when they came to the CARE Clinic for a problem unrelated to COVID-19 in Red Wing o

State officials upset with lack of COVID-19 test supplies

Officials continue to emphasize that the confirmed case count, which included five new deaths in the state, is not telling the whole picture.
The intersection of Marquette and Seventh in downtown Minneapolis was largely empty on Monday morning, the first day of Gov. Tim Walz's stay-at-home o

Minn. COVID-19 deaths at 10 with 56 hospitalized; 24 in ICU

Gov. Tim Walz said that finding personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves, face shields and gowns, continues to be a challenge but added that the state is getting more help from the federal government.
Ben Pelton, right, and Dr. Timothy Sielaff, who was assisted by Travis Wolfe of the Red Cross, donated blood at Allina Commons on March 19. State heal

They need your blood: Canceled drives pressure Minnesota's supplies

Despite COVID-19, blood banks remain open for business and need donations.
Rachel Miner, 15, left, of Emmetsburg, Iowa, sat with Carlotta Haas, 15, right, a German foreign exchange student from Duesseldorf who had been living

COVID-19 could potentially infect 2.4 million in Minnesota

New projected health impacts provide the first Minnesota-specific attempt to gauge the burden of the pandemic.
Signs alerting customers to changes in operations were painting on the windows of Panera Saturday on Nicollet Mall.

Cases in 4 care facilities among Minnesota's 235 infections

It is another record-setting day for confirmed cases, as health officials have consistently said more cases were expected to be discovered and many other cases are undetected.
A jogger passed by the Minnehaha Bunny, which had a protective mask added amid the coronavirus pandemic, Friday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota COVID-19 case numbers jump to 115 as pace accelerates

Infections have likely spread beyond the 21 Minnesota counties that have confirmed cases, increasingly through community transmission.
Shopper Merlin Smith, 82, of Edina navigates the aisles of Lunds and Byerlys during an early morning hour devoted to older shoppers and shoppers with

Minnesota hospitals ordered to postpone elective surgeries

Twelve more cases of COVID-19 were announced Thursday, bringing the total in the state to 89.
Dr. Meeta Shah, an emergency room doctor, took video calls at Rush University Medical Center, which is using telemedicine to screen and treat patients

Pandemic could broaden telemedicine in Minnesota Medicaid

Legislature fails to pass bill waiving rules on phone, video chats for pandemic.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz watched as Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm announced community mitigation strategies Friday in response to the COVID-19 pandem

'A heightened state of readiness': State lays out steps to fight virus

Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency, limiting large gatherings such as concerts, conferences and sporting events. Five more Minnesotans have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing cases to 14.
This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, in orange, emerging fr

No, you can't kill COVID-19 by drinking warm water

Beyond drinking water, the hoax says people can tell if they're not infected by holding their breath for more than 10 seconds without coughing or discomfort.
A helicopter carrying airmen with the 129th Rescue Wing flew over the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California on March 5. The unidentif

First Minnesota coronavirus patient had limited contact with others

Minnesota's first COVID-19 patient had been on the now quarantined Grand Princess for a cruise between California and Mexico. Of the 26 passengers who disembarked Feb. 21 and returned to Minnesota, only two had symptoms. One ended up as the state's first COVID-19 case. The other tested negative.
Travelers in Terminal 1 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Wednesday.

New precautions: 2 MSP fliers in 'self-quarantine' are U students

The move was one of the increasing number of precautions being taken in Minnesota amid growing signs of the virus' spread.
Elias Usso has opened an independent pharmacy in Minneapolis.

Independent pharmacy in Minneapolis hopes to beat the odds

Elias Usso did something almost unheard of in today’s pharmacy world. He opened an independent pharmacy in Minneapolis at a time when large corporate chains…
Suboxone is prescribed for addiction treatment as part of comprehensive recovery effort.

32 rural Minn. counties still lack providers for key opioid addiction recovery drug

Providers say Suboxone saves lives, but approval process deters many.
The proposal was unveiled Thursday by Seema Verma, the administrator who oversees the Medicaid program.

Will Minnesota accept new Medicaid financing deal from feds?

The program appears geared toward the 14 states that have not taken advantage of the ACA option to expand Medicaid to single adults.
Minnesota State Senator J im Abeler led a hearing Wednesday where Minnesota Department of Human Services officials unveiled plans to improve the state

Minnesota takes steps to modernize disability services

People with disabilities and their families say the $3 billion program is confusing and arbitrary.
State Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said the new internal audit is a sign her agency is responding to complaints.

Audit finds violations of laws to prevent fraud at DHS unit

An internal audit at the Minnesota Department of Human Services has found several violations of laws to prevent fraud, waste and abuse in the division responsible for a recent series of improper payments.
Matt Anderson, will become assistant commissioner for health care, and Karen McKinney will become the agency’s chief equity officer.

Troubled Minnesota agency names candidates for top health care, equity posts

Minnesota's biggest state agency continues to firm up its executive ranks.
At a home in St. Louis Park, Robert W. Carlson, owner of Healthy Homes drills a hole through the basement wall. The fan on the right is part of a miti

Regulation of Minnesota radon contractors is headed to court

Health Department rules have been on hold since 2018 after industry sued the state.
Gov. Tim Walz.

Walz seeks peace with counties over $10M in DHS payment glitches

Walz tells leaders they won't have to pay $10M for DHS payment errors.
Minnesota hospitals admitted 117 influenza patients last week, the highest weekly total for the season, according to the Minnesota Health Department.

Minnesota hospitals report more flu cases; school outbreaks dwindle

Early emergence of B strain has affected kids, but produced relatively few deaths.
The new Medicaid policy, which took effect in August, allows doctors to prescribe hormones, such as testosterone, for those who have decided to transi

Minnesota DHS adds Medicaid drug coverage for transgender teens

Change provides more treatment options for transgender teens in Minnesota.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

Flu outbreaks at Minnesota schools are worst in five years

With most classes out this week, the next front for the flu's spread is likely to be at home or at community events, but the dominant flu strain this season tends to affect children the most.
Carolyn Ham

Minnesota DHS reassigns inspector general caught up in controversy

Investigation after the state's legislative auditor found disarray resulted in no disciplinary action.
Dr. Nathan Chomilo

Minnesota pediatrician, equity advocate named as medical director for Medicaid

Dr. Nathan Chomilo, a respected Twin Cities pediatrician and internist, has been named the state's new Medicaid medical director by the Minnesota Department of Human…
Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles, left, and Jodi Harpstead, Minnesota Department of Human Services commissioner in front of a Minnesota Senate committee

Minnesota DHS official served on nonprofit's board while approving payments

The episode appears to violate Minnesota state ethics policies, and the legislative auditor is reviewing the case for potential conflict of interest.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

Gov. Walz hires consultant to study breaking up embattled DHS

A breakup has been suggested many times over the past decade, and even this year high-ranking DHS officials have said that it might make sense.
Patricia Wilson looks out of the bedroom at her group home to see if her mother has arrived. Her mother, Janet Resler, takes Wilson out to community m

Disabled Minnesota residents often live in costly isolation

Rather than helping develop care plans that would allow disabled Minnesotans to live in their homes, counties continue to steer thousands into facilities that promote dependency and isolation.
Sen. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, questioned new Department of Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead in September. Abeler said it’s unfair to ask the c

Minnesota counties resist costly payments for Department of Human Services errors

The department is trying to collect $9 million from counties for mistakes it made.
State Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead testified before lawmakers about what she has learned in her first 90 days and her plans going forwar

State DHS leader lays out plan to rebuild trust in troubled agency

Jodi Harpstead pledged to strengthen internal controls and form an outside advisory council that will include Bill George, the former Medtronic CEO who was once Harpstead's boss.
The tainted blackberries were sold at Fresh Thyme stores between Sep. 9 and Sep. 30.

Minnesota reports first hepatitis A case linked to tainted blackberries

Illness counts rise from national outbreaks involving blackberries and Salinas romaine lettuce.
DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead listened as Legislative Auditor James Nobles discussed the results of his investigation into Medicaid overpayments by

Counties will pay for some of DHS' growing financial failures

What was $48 million in improper payments to chemical dependency treatment providers has now grown into a more expensive problem as the Minnesota Department of Human Services revealed additional failures Monday.
State Sen. Julie Rosen led a hearing Wednesday over the leadership at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) for its mismanagement of financ

Legislators say state's DHS not alone in sloppy contracting

Legislators leveled stinging criticism at state agencies at a hearing on mismanagement of financial contracts that led to nearly 1,800 violations of state law over the past year.
Jodi Harpstead, center, Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner (DHS), appeared in October before a Senate committee about the agency maki

Costly Medicaid missteps could foretell bigger problems at DHS

A top official at the Minnesota Department of Human Services told the legislative auditor that overpayments to two Indian bands are just "one example" of wider dysfunction in the agency's oversight of millions of dollars.
“It is the governor’s responsibility now,” state Sen. Julie Rosen has said.

State Senate panel to review Department of Human Services contracts

Gov. Tim Walz says he welcomes scrutiny of the agency.
Legislative Auditor James Nobles held up the complicated organizational chart of DHS as he spoke on the results of its investigation into Medicaid ove

Documents show DHS broke law more than 200 times in past year

The Minnesota Department of Human Services violated state law with $52 million in contracts and grant commitments to vendors, Indian bands and other state government agencies without proper documentation, according to records.