Staff Directory 6370425

Glenn Howatt

Editor | Computer-Assisted Reporting
Phone: 612-673-7192

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
Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead said the number of group home closures this year was “alarming.”

Minnesota group home capacity shrinks amid staffing shortages

For the first time since 2019, the number of group home licenses has fallen.
Mike Zontelli, right, met with his daughter and friends outside at his home in Minnetonka. Zontelli is a kidney transplant recipient, which makes him

Vulnerable Minnesotans face new risks as mask mandates end

Transplant recipients and those with chronic illnesses worry COVID-19 will continue to spread as more Minnesotans stop wearing masks.
Researchers have detected the new omicron variant, BA.2, in samples taken at the Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment plant in St. Paul.

New omicron subvariant found in Twin Cities area wastewater

The subvariant, which has been detected in low levels in Twin Cities area wastewater, is 30-50% more infectious than its predecessor, but researchers are still trying to determine whether it is more severe.
Emergency inventory technician Maria Kuehn pulled out a gurney as she prepared an ambulance for a shift on Friday at the Allina Health EMS South Metro

Minn. EMS workers depart as demand for services grows

Regulators and the industry are seeking regulatory flexibility to address staff shortages.
At-home COVID-19 tests can still be used if left out in cold weather, but tests should be performed only at room temperature.

Can at-home COVID-19 tests survive Minnesota's frigid temperatures?

The tests should be used only at room temperature, and there are ways to tell if the test performed properly.
The Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday reported 5,480 new COVID-19 cases and 45 more deaths.

Omicron continues retreat in Minnesota: 'It appears that we have peaked'

But health officials caution that new case rates are still high.
Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell spoke during a meeting of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission at the Minnesot

Advocates call for COVID-19 protections for Minnesota prisoners

Nearly 35% of Minnesota prisoners tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
Dozens of people waited in a line that wound through the parking lot of the COVID-19 community testing site in Brooklyn Park in early January.

Minnesota COVID-19 cases set monthly record in January

More than 275,000 new infections were detected in January, but omicron has not caused as many hospitalizations and deaths, due in part to Minnesota's COVID-19 vaccination rate of 64.7%.
Surveillance footage showed an incapacitated Hardel Sherrell collapsing into a wheelchair as a Beltrami County Jail staffer looked on. Sherrell died a

Doctor suspended over Beltrami County Jail death

Board said a Beltrami County jail inmate suffered from medical neglect that led to his death.
Nursing home workers waited to get tested for COVID-19 last August at Jones-Harrison Senior Living in Minneapolis.

Omicron variant now hitting Minnesota long-term care homes

New cases had been falling last month after residents received COVID-19 vaccine boosters
Minnesota Department of Health’s infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann is stepping down Feb. 2.

Minn. infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann to retire Feb. 2

Kris Ehresmann, a key architect of the state's response to the COVID pandemic, will retire in February after more than 30 years at the state's health agency.
Twin City Gardens nursing home, which was taken over by state regulators in October 2021, will close within 60 days because of structural deficiencies

State shutters troubled northeast Mpls. nursing home

Twin City Gardens was placed under state receivership in October because of patient care lapses and financial difficulties.
Minnesota’s COVID-19 case counts subsided in June, but months later the arrival of the highly infectious delta variant led to a case surge that over

After signs of retreat, COVID-19 roars back as 2022 begins

Health officials are expecting the omicron variant to fuel new cases in the coming weeks.
Leah Thompson, left collections specialist at Memorial Blood Centers assisted Sandy Hinkley, as she donated platelets in St. Paul on Wednesday, Dec. 2

Minnesota blood supplies at historic lows

COVID-19 pandemic has hampered blood donations
Gov. Tim Walz received his annual flu shot at the United Family Medicine clinic in St. Paul on Oct. 5.

After year of virtually no cases, seasonal flu is back in Minnesota

Although flu infections are not yet swamping the system, health officials report a noticeable uptick in cases that began in early December and continues to escalate.
Geetanjali Mittal, right, of SEWA-AIFW received a COVID-19 test, along with James Page of the Cultural Wellness Center, while touring the testing faci

Walz: $2.5M in federal funds will increase at-home virus tests

More than 200,000 residents took COVID-19 tests in the days before Christmas. The testing labs reported 9,873 positive test results over the three-day period that included Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Minnesota COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased, with 1,394 coronavirus patients as of Thursday. That’s down from the high of 1,678 on Dec. 9.

Minnesota passes 1 million COVID cases, but growth slows

With the highly contagious omicron variant accounting for over 50% of new cases, according to state health officials, Minnesota could see an escalation of infections similar to what is happening in many other states.
At-home COVID-19 rapid tests were available Wednesday at the Cub Foods in New Hope.

COVID-19 rapid tests in high demand as omicron takes hold in Minn.

Tests are a hot item for Christmas this year, but availability is spotty as families seek reassurance before holiday gatherings.
Sarah Stoesz, CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, is expected to leave the organization in 2022 after 20 years.

Sarah Stoesz, longtime CEO of Minnesota Planned Parenthood, to step down in 2022

The leadership change comes at a time when the future of abortion rights is uncertain nationwide.
Only 2% of adult ICU beds in Minnesota on Thursday were unoccupied and 56 hospitals reported their adult intensive care units were at capacity, accord

COVID-19 vaccine boosters approved for all adults, will start immediately in Minn.

With cases rising, public health officials hope the approval will slow virus spread.
Minnesota hospitals were caring for 1,382 COVID-19 patients, including 320 in intensive care, on Tuesday, according to the Minnesota Department of Hea

Minn. hospitals get federal help to address staff shortages

HCMC and St. Cloud Hospital each will receive 22 emergency medical workers from the Department of Defense. Cerenity Senior Care-Marian in St. Paul will become the third long-term care facility in the state to open its beds to hospitalized patients.
The study compared tobacco use rates among students in Minnesota communities that raised the purchasing age to 21 with communities that didn’t.

Study: Raising tobacco purchase age lowered youth tobacco use

Minnesota eighth- and ninth-graders used tobacco less often in communities that set purchase age at 21.
Labor and delivery service at Regina Hospital in Hastings would end in February under plans recently announced by parent company Allina Health.

Hastings' Regina Hospital to close birthing center

Labor and delivery patients will be referred to United and Children's Minnesota hospitals in St. Paul.
Younger Minnesotans have the lowest vaccination rates in the state, with 53% fully vaccinated in the 12-15 age group and 59% in the 16-17 age group.

Shots for Minnesota teens rise 38% with $200 incentive program

The state is offering $200 to teens who get fully vaccinated by end of November. Those wanting the $200 Visa gift card should get their first dose by Nov. 9 in order to complete the two doses needed to qualify.
About 505,000 Minnesota children ages 5-11 will become eligible for the lower-dose Pfizer vaccine when approved. Alison Alquicira, 13, received her fi

More than 1,100 Minnesota providers are ready to give COVID-19 shots to kids

Federal approvals of the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11 are expected next week.
Twin City Gardens nursing home has been taken over by the Minneapolis Department of Health  because of patient care lapses and financial difficulties.

State regulators take control of Minneapolis nursing home

Twin City Gardens has been cited for violating federal and state regulations during inspections and complaint investigations and had numerous unpaid bills.
There were 920 new coronavirus cases last week among Minnesota students and employees in 512 pre-K-12 school buildings, down from mid-September.

Minnesota school COVID-19 cases plunge since mid-September

COVID-19 cases in Minnesota pre-K-12 schools have dropped significantly with the number of new infections falling nearly 70%. One student and two staff members have died of COVID-19 complications last week.
When the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children 5 to 11, Minnesota will have enough vaccine for the 509,000 children in the state in that ag

Minnesota prepares to vaccinate children for COVID-19

The shots will be available shortly after federal officials give approval, expected in early November.
The five-year grant will be used to support clinical research on community and primary care approaches to diet, physical activity, smoking cessation a

U, Mayo win $19.4 million grant to study heart health disparities

New research center will address high rates of heart disease in Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.
After visiting the ICU in North Memorial Hospital, Gov. Tim Walz expressed his frustration in the need to activate members of the state’s National G

Minnesota Guard to assist with long-term care staffing shortage

The National Guard will also be used to start a new community rapid testing program.
Staff vaccination rates at Minnesota nursing homes are now at 72%. ] Jerry Holt  •

Nursing home staff vaccinations increase ahead of federal mandate, but some quit

Despite concerns that an upcoming federal vaccination mandate for long-term care workers would lead to resignations, Minnesota nursing homes so far have consistently managed to staff about two health care workers for every resident, although some are temporary employees.
Minnesota hospital beds are in short supply because of seasonal illnesses and trauma patients as well as COVID-19 patients. ] AARON LAVINSKY • aaron

Minnesota hospital beds in short supply

As COVID-19 case surge continues, urban and rural hospitals are filling up.
For every overdose death, there were 14 nonfatal overdoses in 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health reported on Thursday. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Nonfatal drug overdoses up 18% in Minnesota

The increases come as drug overdose deaths in Minnesota reached record levels.
Pfizer COVID-19 boosters are recommended for people 65 and older and people 50 to 64 who have underlying health conditions that put them at high risk

1M Minnesotans eligible for Pfizer COVID vaccine booster shot

Minnesotans might get shots quicker at pharmacies than at large health care systems, state health officials said, adding that Pfizer vaccine supply is sufficient to meet demand.
Child-care providers in Minnesota soon will be able to receive financial assistance under a $300 million state grant program.  ]  Shari L. Gross • s

Minnesota child-care providers to receive $300 million in grants

The program will help improve child-care worker salaries.
The state’s testing positivity rate has fallen to 6.8%, down from a recent high of 7.1%.

Minnesota surpasses 8,000 COVID-19 deaths as hospitals fill

Hospitalizations set a 2021 record with 791 COVID-19 patients. Of the state's 1,206 intensive care beds, 95% are occupied. About 92% of non-ICU beds are full.
A COVID-19 vaccine was administered to 6th grader Dorrie Hintz, 12, as she held the hand of her classmate, Ella Fetters, at a vaccination event at Sou

Weekly COVID count rises in Minnesota's pre-K-12 schools

Governor for third day visits schools at the start of classes, urges child vaccinations for those 12 and older who are eligible.
Minnesota officials are worried about more COVID-19 school outbreaks after Labor Day, when most districts start classes, and urge all eligible people

COVID outbreak in Albert Lea schools brings mask mandate

State officials are concerned that outbreaks could emerge in other districts without a mask mandate.
Minnesota’s hospitals report they are at 92% capacity, including patients with COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), traumatic injuries and o

Wintertime virus keeps Minnesota hospitals busy during summer

COVID-19, traumatic injuries and staffing shortages add to pressure on hospitals
Federal health officials recommend people wear masks in crowded outdoor settings where COVID-19 transmission is high.  ] GLEN STUBBE • glen.stubbe@s

Health officials: Wear masks in outdoor crowds

The delta variant is spreading not only indoors but also in outdoor settings
Registered nurse Yvonne Akufongwe gave Jennifer Guiterrez, 15, her second Pfizer vaccine at a community vaccination clinic at Gordon Parks High School

Minnesota health officials hope for COVID-19 vaccine boost from FDA approval

Vaccine hesitancy has waned, but some say they are waiting for reassurance of full regulatory approval
Pamela Kika took a nose swab COVID-19 test on Thursday at Jones-Harrison Senior Living, where she has been a caregiver for 15 years.

Minnesota long-term care COVID-19 cases are on the rise

About 34% of facility workers are not fully vaccinated as officials await more details about a federal mandate that workers get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Fully vaccinated Minnesotans should wait to get COVID-19 booster shots, health officials say.

Health officials: Minnesotans should wait to get booster shots

Details about when boosters will commence and eligibility are yet to be revealed
About 115,000 Minnesotans with weakened immune systems are now eligible to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine shot. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffl

115,000 Minnesotans now eligible for third COVID-19 vaccine shot

Health officials do not recommend booster shots for others right now dyfodyfydf odyfodyfodyfdfyy.
The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice has disciplined an Eden Prairie pediatrician for telling parents that childhood vaccines are not safe. .  (Ana

Minn. doctor disciplined for discouraging childhood vaccines

Four complaints filed against the Eden Prairie pediatrician, including two by physicians
Minnesotans’ general health could suffer if they continue to delay preventive care because of the ongoing pandemic, health officials say. ] ANTHONY

COVID-19 has led to reduced preventive health care in Minnesota

Screenings for colorectal cancer and depression were down compared with 2019 and the quality of care was not as good for patients with diabetes, asthma and vascular disease, according to Minnesota Community Measurement.
Ti Se, 50, of Mayer received a vaccine at Chanhassen High School last week. The CDC reports 35 Minnesota counties are considered to have substantial o

CDC: Most metro counties join indoor mask guideline list

In the seven-county metro, all counties except Carver are seeing worrisome case transmission rates, in addition to 29 more counties statewide, based on per capita case rates and percentage of tests that are positive.
Minnesotans who get their first COVID-19 shot July 30 through Aug. 15 can register to receive a $100 gift card.    ]   ALEX KORMANN • alex.kormann@s

Minnesota offers $100 for getting COVID-19 shots

People who get their first dose between July 30 and August 15 are eligible
COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in Minnesota.

Minnesota virus hospitalizations double in 2 weeks, top 200

Governor promotes vaccine education that will take place in 14 Black-owned barber shops and salons in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s COVID-19 cases are increasing, fueled by the highly infectious delta variant.

Rising virus cases in Minnesota fuel an uptick in hospitalizations

With 47% of state residents not fully vaccinated, public health officials are concerned the delta variant could fuel another surge in cases.
New COVID-19 infections are accelerating in Minnesota but not at the pace seen in other states. However, the rapid spread of the delta variant could c

Delta variant causing 75% of new Minnesota COVID-19 cases

Minnesota inched closer to meeting its COVID-19 vaccination goal, with 67.9% of those age 16 and older getting at least one shot, the state Health Department reported.
Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director for the Minnesota Department of Health, is warning people who stayed at the Ramada by Wyndham Albert Lea h

2 Legionnaires' cases linked to Albert Lea hotel

MDH warns people who stayed at the hotel in late June to seek medical care if they're feeling ill.
Most newly vaccinated Minnesotans bypassed the state’s COVID-19 vaccination incentive program. Of about 135,000 first doses administered in June, on

Minnesota COVID-19 vaccination incentives fall short

Most who got shots didn't register for state's prizes.
Archive: Tracking COVID-19 vaccinations in Minnesota

Archive: Tracking COVID-19 vaccinations in Minnesota

Daily vaccination data is not being updated after June 30, 2021. To see current weekly vaccination rates and COVID-19 data in Minnesota, go here.…
A 15-year-old got her shot at a temporary clinic at the Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul.

Minnesota's COVID-19 vaccine equity efforts to move beyond high-risk areas

As the pace of first doses slows, state officials are preparing new strategies for closing the gaps.
The front entrance of Cambia Hills around the time of its opening in March 2020.

Minnesota adolescent mental health treatment facility closes abruptly

Cambia Hills cites payment dispute with state regulators as reason for closing.
Cindy Lambing of Minneapolis completed her shopping at Linden Hills Co-op in Minneapolis last spring as cashier Sareena Tippett sanitized the checkout

Minneapolis and St. Paul now ending COVID-19 mask mandate

The move comes two weeks after Minnesota's statewide mandate was lifted.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz spoke to Minnesotans Nov. 18 from the governor’s reception room at the State Capitol.

What you need to know about Minnesota's COVID-19 restrictions

The latest updates on Gov. Tim Walz's coronavirus restrictions, from mask mandates to caps on gatherings.
M Health Fairview nurse Nicole Parr extracted a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine recently.

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.
People waited in line for their COVID-19 vaccine in the parking lot at the Hmong Town Marketplace in St. Paul on Thursday.

Minnesota makes progress on closing vaccine disparities gap

40% of first doses still being allocated to most vulnerable communities.
Dr. Brian Berglund, with Allina Health, administered a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to South View Middle School sixth-grader Claire Da

Some Minnesota businesses, areas keep a mask requirement

Gov. Tim Walz canceled the mandate Friday but said cities and businesses can set their own policies. For the near future, Minnesotans are likely to face a patchwork of different rules.
Paula McMahon prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, as the mass public vaccination program gets underway, at the NHS Louisa Jordan

What you need to know about Minnesota's vaccine plan

Here are answers to questions you may have about vaccines and the state's strategy to vaccinate millions of Minnesotans.
Maddox Nichols, 13, of Minneapolis, got his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Erin Oleson Thursday at Children’s Minnesota. ] ANT

Minnesota reports 1,306 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths

Minnesota begins first day without a mask mandate since July
Lincoln Schlagel, 13, of Howard Lake, Minn., winced as he got his first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at Children’s Minnesota.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz to lift state's mask mandate today

Businesses will be free to make their own decisions about whether to ask customers or employees to mask up, and Minneapolis will keep its requirement until officials there have had time to review data and consult health advisers.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, shown at a July news conference.

Gov. Tim Walz says state mask mandate to be lifted Friday

It comes after the CDC's new guidance on masks.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm

Minnesota's suicide deaths dropped in all groups but seniors in 2020

Suicides decreased to 723 in 2020, down from 830 the previous year.
Oxycodone-acetaminophen pills.

Fentanyl pushes Minnesota drug overdose deaths up 27%

The onset of the coronavirus last year led many treatment and outreach resources to shut down, limiting access.
Dearest Kotio, right, received her COVID-19 vaccine inside a mobile vaccine clinic in a parking lot at the Seasons Park Apartments on Tuesday in Richf

Minnesota to send 40% of COVID-19 vaccine doses to hard-hit communities

CDC study confirms effectiveness of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines against hospitalization
Jenipher Onsarigo, RN, administered the Johnson and Johnson Covid-19 vaccination to women at the vaccination site at the Masjid Al Tawba Mosque, Thurs

COVID-19 vaccination rates fall short in parts of Minnesota

First-vaccination rates still below 40% in eight counties in Minnesota.
Hennepin Healthcare nurse Christine Runyon administered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Jamie Larson last week at United Labor Center in Minneapolis.

1,197 more Minnesota COVID-19 cases, 0 new deaths

State could reach 2.5 million Minnesotans vaccinated with one dose this week
Mike Babcock, 38, of St. Paul, received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine  last month at the Minneapolis VA from nurse Matt Brenner.

1,367 new COVID-19 cases, 3 more deaths reported in Minnesota

Young Minnesotans account for 23% of new cases
People’s Center Clinic medical assistant Sabah Askar gave Diane Snodgrass her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic last month.

Minnesota's COVID-19 case rates have grown 25 days in a row

The state's test positivity rate and hospitalization growth rate are also at levels that public officials consider to be warning signs.
Critical care nurses and respiratory therapists prepared to supine a proned patient at North Memorial Health Hospital in December.    ] AARON LAVINSKY

State's COVID-19 hospitalizations almost double February totals

Some evidence suggests that highly infectious and possibly more serious COVID-19 variants are also responsible, sickening those at younger ages who would have otherwise not needed medical care.
Mike Babcock, 38, of St. Paul, received a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month at the Minneapolis VA from nurse Matt Brenner.

Minnesota State Fairgrounds to become COVID vaccination site

Gov. Tim Walz and FEMA announced Monday that shots will begin at the Falcon Heights location on April 14.
Keyana Johnson, with children Prodigy and Stephon, had to leave foster care when she was 21 and pregnant.

Minnesota offers financial assistance to older children who lost foster care benefits

An estimated 770 youth who have aged out or are close to it would be eligible for assistance.