COVID-19 Updates

June 1, 2020

Status of COVID-19 in Minnesota
Updated June 1, 2020
Total positive: 25,208
Patients who no longer need to be isolated: 19,441
Total approximate number of completed tests: 255,592
Deaths: 1,050
o Deaths among cases that resided in long-term care or assisted living facilities: 855
Total cases requiring hospitalization:  3,086
o Hospitalized as of today: 549 
o Hospitalized in ICU as of today: 253
Numbers are cumulative since Jan. 20, 2020.
The number of lab-confirmed positive tests among Minnesota residents will be updated daily on Situation Update for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with test results from the previous day. The page also includes a map of counties with confirmed cases, and more.
This total reflects only the results from laboratory testing. There are more cases in Minnesota, and the virus is circulating in communities. It is important for everyone to follow advice on community mitigation and social distancing to help us flatten the case curve.
Governor has launched a public dashboard which includes race data of cases: Minnesota COVID-19 Public Dashboard.
 

New MDH Resource: Is it COVID-19?
The “Is it COVID-19” poster shown below compares symptoms between COVID-19, flu, cold, and allergies and is available in 12 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Hmong, Karen, Lao, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
 
Is it COVID-19 document image
New MDH Video: Testing for COVID-19
The Testing for COVID-19 video is now more available in Minnesota. This MDH video explains who should get tested, where to get tested, and how to get your results.
Additional versions in other languages are currently in production. 

COVID Testing Video image

Other Updates
Minnesotans with low incomes now able to purchase food online using SNAP benefits
Almost 400,000 people who use the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Minnesota now have more options to buy food safely. Starting May 28, 2020, they can purchase groceries online using their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards.
Read more in the DHS news release.

Places of Worship, Funerals, and Weddings
Places of worship, funeral homes, and venues that offer gathering space for weddings, funerals, and other planned services (worship, rituals, prayer meetings, etc.) may now host such services with over 10 people, provided that they follow these requirements:
In all settings, ensure a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between households.
In indoor settings, occupancy must not exceed 25% of the normal occupant capacity as determined by the fire marshal, with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space.
In outdoor settings, gatherings must not exceed 250 individuals.
Develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.
For more information, see Executive Order 20-62 (PDF) and DEED: Industry Guidance for Safely Reopening: Faith-based communities, places of worship, weddings, and funerals (PDF).


May 23, 2020

New Guidance on Reopening Places of Worship

 A day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance allowing for reopening places of worship, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan today announced they have partnered with Minnesota faith leaders on a plan for places of worship who decide to open to do so as safely as possible. Through consultation with Minnesota faith leaders, the Minnesota Department of Health has developed additional guidance for faith-based communities, places of worship, and services. Starting May 27, places of worship may open at 25 percent occupancy if they adhere to social distancing and other public health guidelines to keep congregants safe.
 
“I have had many meaningful conversations with faith leaders over the last few weeks,” Governor Walz said. “From a personal and public health perspective, the decision around places of worship has been a challenging one since the beginning of the pandemic. We know large gatherings of people raise the risk of spreading COVID-19. We also know worship is an essential part of many Minnesotans’ lives, including mine.”
 
“Minnesotans have made great sacrifices to protect their neighbors by staying home,” Walz continued. “I understand the toll the pandemic has taken on the spiritual health of Minnesotans. As the CDC allows for places of worship to reopen, I have partnered with faith leaders to ensure there are clear public health guidelines to do so as safely as possible.”
 
“Each step we take brings risk and responsibility for all,” Walz continued. “My family will continue to practice our faith via video at home. I urge all Minnesotans to continue to limit their in-person interactions with people outside of their households, and I strongly urge Minnesotans at heightened risk to stay home. Those who disregard public health guidance endanger not only themselves, but their families and their neighbors.”
 
To update this guidance, the Governor today signed Executive Order 20-62 amending his previous orders to allow for safe worship, weddings, and funerals.
 
“As a person of faith, it is hard to be separated from community at this time,” Lieutenant Governor Flanagan said. “I urge all Minnesotans to remember that the best way to love their neighbor right now is by practicing good public health. With the CDC issuing new guidance, I hope our plan announced today will help ensure Minnesotans who wish to worship in person can do so as safely as possible.”
 
According to the Executive Order, places of worship, funeral homes, and other venues that offer gathering space for weddings, funerals, and planned services such as worship, rituals, prayer meetings, scripture studies, may host such services with over 10 people, provided that they adhere to the below requirements:
·         In all settings, ensure a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between households.
·         In indoor settings, occupancy must not exceed 25 percent of the normal occupant capacity as determined by the fire marshal, with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space.
·         In outdoor settings, gatherings must not exceed 250 individuals.
·         Develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan in accordance with guidance developed by the Minnesota Department of Health and available at https://mn.gov/deed/guidance


May 22, 2020

FREE COVID-19 TESTING AT NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY SITES

Governor Walz announced that Minnesotans who need or want to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to access free testing at six National Guard Armory locations across Minnesota throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend: Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25.

Testing, tracing, and isolating are the best ways to both understand the impact of the pandemic on our communities and to contain it, so we can continue safely reopening our state,” said Governor Walz. “I am grateful the Minnesota National Guard is helping with this important effort as we continue to navigate this pandemic.”

The testing teams at each site are comprised of a coalition of National Guard members and state or local public health employees. Social distancing and the practice of wearing a mask will be enforced at the testing locations for everyone’s protection. Anyone experiencing symptoms should self-quarantine before and after their test until they receive their results.

COVID-19 Testing Locations:
East St Paul

Minneapolis Armory
1025 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55413

Moorhead Armory
1002 15th Ave N, Moorhead, MN 56560
Duluth Armory


Faribault Armory
3000 W Airport Rd, Faribault, MN 55021

St. James Armory
521 Armstrong Blvd N, St James, MN 56081

Who can be tested?

Any Minnesotan. We especially encourage those who are ill, or who has been directly exposed to a known COVID-19 positive contact.
How will the testing take place?

No appointment is necessary. National Guard members will swab the inside of your nose and ask you to complete paperwork with your name and contact information so you can be contacted with results. Results will be provided by phone and expected with an average of 48 hours.

Is there a charge for the test?
There is no charge for the testing and Minnesotans will not be asked for insurance cards or ID.
When can I be tested?
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Memorial Day)
Will there be future opportunities like this?
Future testing events depend on several factors, including demand demonstrated this weekend. Minnesotans can find other testing facilities as well as a symptom screening tool at https://mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/if-sick/.


CONTINUED STATE WORK TO FIGHT COVID-19

Leaders from the Minnesota Department of Health provided an update on our Administration’s response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. Significant work has been done to stand up the Governor’s Five-Point Battle Plan over the last several weeks, including:

•                    Developing a process to schedule long term care facilities to be tested. To date, we have tested  39 long term care facilities across the state, including over 7000 residents and staff. Looking forward, we have 30 facilities scheduled for testing over the next week. 
•                    Rolling out the REDCap survey tool where long term care facilities can request testing for their facilities.
•                    Hosting a weekly webinar for long term care facilities.
•                    Training and deploying 50 National Guard members to test in long term care facilities.
•                    Sending more than 2 million gloves, 37,000 cloth masks, 18,000 N95 masks, and more than 100,000 face masks/face shields to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. More than 175 facilities received these critical supplies.

•                    Finalizing and releasing a volunteer management system in order to connect facilities to actual healthcare workers near them.
•                    Finalizing and distributing long-term care toolkits to over 2500 long term care facilities.
•                    Providing assistance to 654 facilities on infection control measures, how to properly use PPE and other how to prevent, prepare for and respond to a potential outbreak.
 
Above all else, the Walz-Flanagan Administration prioritizes Minnesotans’ health and safety through the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, the Governor announced the slow turning of the dials for restaurants and bars, allowing outdoor seating with safe social distancing measures, as well as the cautious reopening of personal services, like hair salons and barbershops.

May 20, 2020
NEW PHASES IN MN STAY PLAN TO OPEN BARS AND RESTAURANTS, SALONS2


Governor Tim Walz today announced the phases in his Stay Safe Plan, including a cautious, strategic turn of the dial to allow limited outdoor dining at restaurants and bars starting June 1, 2020. The Governor also announced that salons and barbershops will be allowed to open June 1 at 25 percent occupancy to ensure the safety of both the employees and the customers inside. In both industries, customers will be either strongly recommended or required to wear masks, make reservations, and adhere to social distancing requirements to keep themselves, other customers, and employees safe.
 
Our restaurants and bars are an integral part of the social fabric of Minnesota, and it has been heartbreaking to see this pandemic wreak havoc on our hospitality industry,” said Governor Walz. “While the virus won’t yet allow for business as usual, let’s do what we do best after winter in Minnesota and head outside. Whether it’s a Jucy Lucy, a plate of tamales, or a walleye dinner, Minnesotans can support their local restaurant by enjoying a socially distanced meal outdoors.”
 
Outdoor dining can begin on June 1, with restaurants maintaining social distancing and seating no more than 50 patrons at a time. In addition to outdoor dining, restaurants and bars will be able to continue to offer takeout, curbside, and delivery services, which have been permitted throughout the pandemic in Minnesota. While Minnesota has ranked first in the nation for takeout and delivery patronage during the outbreak of COVID-19, restaurants and bars have been closed for in-person dining since March 17. Since then, the State of Minnesota has worked with the health care sector to expand health care capacity and procure ICU beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment.
 
This is a measured approach that matches the thoughtfulness and generosity of our restauranteurs, who have found creative ways to safely feed their neighbors throughout this pandemic – but making this work relies on all of us,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Supporting your favorite businesses means following health and safety rules at all times – making an appointment or reservation, maintaining social distance, washing your hands, and wearing a mask. It also means that workers are protected if they report concerns about the health and safety practices of their workplace. That’s how we can keep each other healthy so we can continue safely turning the dial in Minnesota.”
 
It’s important for all Minnesotans to remember that they have a big role to play in making this reopening process successful,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “By continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, wearing masks, washing hands, and staying home when sick, we can limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable friends and family members.”
 
On May 13, Governor Walz replaced Minnesota’s Stay Home order with a Stay Safe order as Minnesota continues to safely turn the dial back towards normal life. The Stay Safe order includes a plan for a phased reopening of society as well as a plan to dial back based on the rate of testing, new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Governor Walz has stressed the importance of reopening cautiously and strategically, which is why salons and barbershops will be allowed to reopen on June 1 with only 25 percent occupancy and additional safety measures in place.
 
While all Minnesotans are eager to get a haircut, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our salons and barbershops that put their businesses on hold in order to allow the state time to prepare for COVID-19,” Governor Walz continued. “With the addition of safety measures like personal protective equipment and a limited number of people inside, it’s safe to say we’re not going back to normal. But we can cautiously turn the dial back as Minnesotans continue to do their part to stay safe. Make a reservation, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay home if you’re feeling sick.”
 
Now is the time for innovative solutions as we navigate a new normal, support our favorite businesses and ensure the safety of workers and customers,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “This phased approach to reopening our economy is rooted in safety for everyone, and will ensure we can continue to put more Minnesotans back to work and make data-driven decisions at every turn of the dial.”
 
Outdoor dining and limited salon occupancy are part of phase II of Governor Walz’s Stay Safe Plan. This phase will go into effect on June 1 and will include the opening of campgrounds and other recreational activities. More information on the actives included in the various phases within the Stay Safe Plan can be found here.
 
As the Walz-Flanagan Administration works to cautiously adjust the dials in Minnesota, the Governor has taken steps to ensure workers are being protected as more businesses reopen. The Governor signed an executive order preventing workers from being fired for refusing to work in unsafe conditions. Business must continue to protect their employees while also taking steps to protect their customers. More information on worker protections can be found here.

May 20, 2020

MORE THAN 700 MN COVID Related Deaths

There have been more than 700 deaths in Minnesota due to COVID-19. Each and every life lost is dearly missed by a community of parents, children, co-workers, friends, and neighbors. To remember and honor the lives lost due to COVID-19, Governor Walz ordered all United States and Minnesota flags to be flown at half-staff at all state and federal buildings from sunrise until sunset on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, and the 19th of every month through 2020.

We know that deaths due to COVID-19 are disproportionately affecting Indigenous communities, the elderly, individuals with pre-existing conditions and disabilities, people of color, and people experiencing homelessness. Now more than ever, Minnesotans must come together to support Minnesotans who are most vulnerable to this virus. This means:
Washing hands

Maintaining six feet of social distance
Wearing a mask
Getting tested if you have symptoms
Staying home if you’re sick
Working from home when you’re able 

The Department of Health officials underlined the importance of continuing well-child visits, noting a troubling drop in routine vaccinations. As its health system battles COVID-19, it’s important to continue these regular visits, which stop preventable diseases and help keep children healthy, they say. 


May 15, 2020


In-Person Learning For Students

Tim Walz signed an Executive Order directing the Commissioner of Education to provide a safe and effective summer learning environment for Minnesota’s students. Minnesota’s public school districts and charter schools will have the option to offer summer learning through a hybrid model of distance learning and in-school learning or to continue distance learning.

“The safety and well-being of all Minnesotans is always our top priority,” said Governor Walz. “By slowly turning the dial for school settings this summer, we can better serve Minnesota’s students and families, and provide more opportunities for the in-person learning and social interactions that are critical for learning.”

This Order will offer schools the flexibility for some in-person instruction if they are in compliance with Department of Health (MDH) guidelines on masking, social distancing, personal hygiene, screening, and cleaning, and adhere to MDH’s 
guidance for summer programs. The public health guidance will help schools keep their students, their families, and school staff safe and healthy while offering meaningful learning opportunities. This model will give schools an opportunity to better support the students who have been struggling with distance learning, especially historically underserved students. These public health guidelines will also apply to summer programming outside of a school setting.

Today, the Governor also announced his priorities for $91 million in federal funding Minnesota received through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for children, students, and families during the COVID emergency. The Governor’s priorities for the funding are to increase student access to technology and summer school; support child care and programs providing care to workers in Critical Businesses; provide financial support and flexibility to child care providers; and help working families experiencing financial losses due to COVID-19.

We must continue prioritizing Minnesota’s children and families through this crisis,” said Governor Tim Walz. “Through this funding for education and child care, we can get technology into the hands of students who do not have it, help child care stay open, and support working families who are struggling to afford the child care they need to safely return to work. Our children are our future, and these federal dollars will be an investment in their success.”
 

May 14, 2020

Modifications to Governor’s Stay Home Executive Order

Governor Tim Walz announced the next phase of the COVID-19 response in Minnesota. Citing progress made to prepare for peak of infection, the Governor announced a measured, cautious turning of the dial toward a new normal.

With the Stay Home Executive Order set to expire on May 18, the Governor will replace it with an order continuing to encourage Minnesotans to stay close to home but allowing for gatherings of friends and family of 10 people or less. The Governor will also open retail stores and other main street businesses if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent occupancy. Additional guidance, including a template plan and checklist for businesses, is available on DEED’s website at mn.gov/deed/safework.

“Minnesotans, thank you for your continued sacrifices,” Governor Walz said. “You have saved thousands of lives. You successfully pushed out the peak of this virus and bought our state time to get ready to treat those who fall ill. We know there’s no stopping the storm of COVID-19 from hitting Minnesota, but we have made great progress to prepare for it.”

May 12, 2020

MN Expecting 1st Shipment of Remdesivir

Department of Health officials today highlighted the importance of Minnesotans’ participation in case investigations to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is the process of slowing the spread of a disease by interviewing people who have tested positive to understand who they may have been in contact with while they were ill—particularly vulnerable populations. It’s a core element of a public health response to the outbreak of an infectious disease. Public health officials used contact tracing to effectively slow and stop the large measles outbreak in 2017, as well as several other outbreaks in recent years.

Additionally, the Department discussed the state’s first shipment of Remdesivir, which officials allocated to health care facilities for treatment of people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 cases. The drug has shown to help reduce the time it takes for patients to recover from COVID-19, and it can help us as a bridge to additional treatments we know will be coming in the months ahead. We’re hoping to get an additional shipment later this week.
Also today, Governor Walz signed an Executive Order allowing students in critical care sectors to attend classes for needed in-person training or testing in order to graduate. The Executive Order will fill workforce shortages by accelerating entry into critical sectors for up to 1,000 students that will serve Minnesota’s most vulnerable populations.

“We are committed to providing high-quality care for Minnesota’s most vulnerable communities,” said Governor Walz. “This Executive Order will help fill workforce shortages in critical sectors across Minnesota by creating a path for additional trained, licensed employees in sectors that are critical to protecting Minnesotans’ health, safety, and well-being.”

May 8, 2020

Long-Term Care Facilities 5-Point Plan

Governor Walz unveiled a five-point plan to provide support to our state’s long-term care facilities and protect Minnesota seniors and their caregivers. The Governor and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm worked closely together to develop the plan, which aims to bolster the significant work that is taking place already within facilities and our public health sector. The comprehensive approach includes:
Expanded testing for residents and workers
Creating strike teams to provide testing support
Providing additional personal protective equipment to facilities
Ensuring adequate staffing levels at all facilities
Partnering with local public health to coordinate support
More information on the state’s five point response and support for Minnesota’s care facilities is available here.
Governor Walz also shared guidance, issued yesterday by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, to stay close to home during Saturday’s season fisher opener. While the state’s fishing opener is a time-honored tradition, the COVID-19 pandemic requires that Minnesotans approach the opener differently this year. Many communities across Minnesota don’t have the hospital capacity to handle large outbreaks. Staying close to home means you can still get all the benefits of fishing, but ensure you’re also watching out for your neighbor.


Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19
Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for 10 days after your illness onset and three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine (whichever is longer), and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Up-to-date guidance from the Department of Health on recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here.

May 6, 2020

Roadmap for Elective Surgeries Shared

Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-51, providing a roadmap for safely restarting elective surgeries and procedures in hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and clinics. After May 10 at 11:59 p.m., doctors, dentists, and veterinarians who create a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors may begin offering currently-delayed procedures. These surgeries can treat chronic conditions, prevent and cure disease, and relieve chronic pain.

May 5, 2020
Gov Walz Developing Return to Work Plan

Governor Walz discussed how his administration is engaging with Minnesotans across industries, organizations, and communities to safely get Minnesotans back to work. He remains committed to addressing this pandemic as One Minnesota – together as a state. Through virtual and in-person meetings, letters, emails, and survey responses, the Walz-Flanagan Administration is receiving feedback from leaders in every corner of the state. To learn more about our strategy, and the work we’re doing together, explore our engagement page on the COVID-19 website.
From May 4-8, we are celebrating family child care provider week. In his remarks today, Governor Walz highlighted the thousands of family child care providers stepping up to care for and nurture the children of emergency workers. Child care has remained open during this pandemic, and providers are making every effort to meet public health needs and keep kids and families safe during COVID-19. 
Governor Walz also signed an order that will exempt federal, tribal, state, and local COVID-19 relief funds from being automatically intercepted by creditors and debt collectors.
“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge for our state. This Order will help alleviate the financial burden Minnesotans are facing, allowing them to pay rent and put food on the table,” said Governor Walz. “This action will help ensure the COVID-19 support that local, state, tribal, and federal governments provide will go where it is needed most and directly improve Minnesotans’ lives.”
As many Minnesotans experience unemployment and food and housing insecurity due to COVID-19, this Executive Order allows Minnesotans to use COVID-19 assistance for their immediate needs, rather than having the funding automatically intercepted by creditors or debt collectors.

Governor Walz Extends Stay Home Order in Minnesota

4/30/2020

Governor Walz Extends Stay Home Order in Minnesota
 
Walz extends order until May 18, allows curbside pickup for retail stores
 
Strongly encourages all Minnesotans to wear masks when outside the home
 
[ST. PAUL, MN] – As the state continues to make progress in preparing for the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Tim Walz today extended the Stay Home Order in Minnesota until Monday, May 18. In an effort to get more Minnesotans back safely to work while the order remains in effect, the Governor announced that retail businesses and other non-critical businesses will resume operations with curbside pick-up.
 
“From building out critical hospital capacity to launching a landmark testing strategy, Minnesota has made meaningful progress in preparing for the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Walz said. “Minnesotans have made this possible by staying home and holding down the rate of infection. But now is not the time for sudden movements. There’s more work to be done, and we need to keep this virus at a simmer, not a boil. Our action today prioritizes the safety of Minnesotans while taking cautious, strategic steps toward getting people safely back to work.”
 
Also as part of his Executive Order today, Governor Walz strongly encouraged all Minnesotans to wear a manufactured or homemade mask at all times when they leave their homes to any place where social distancing is difficult.
 
“Minnesotans look out for one another – we’re asking that they continue to protect their neighbors and slow the spread of this virus,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “We must continue to stay home, practice safe social distancing, and wear cloth masks while in public so we can carefully and responsibly turn the dial toward reopening society.” 
 
By extending the Stay Home Order, the Governor said the state will: slow the spread of COVID-19 and slowly build herd immunity; protect those working on the front lines by increasing access to personal protective equipment; ensure our health system can care for all who require care; gradually allow more Minnesotans to return to work; and safely and slowly resume in-person contacts and other activities that are critical for our well-being.
 
“Our public health workers are putting in a tremendous effort to protect people from this terrible pandemic, and Minnesotans across the state have stepped up to help by following the social distancing guidelines and slowing the spread,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “The Governor’s extension of the stay-at-home order gives us a better chance to limit the impacts of this pandemic. It buys us more time to trace and isolate cases, and to work upstream to prevent infections from jumping into new and vulnerable groups. More time means more lives saved.”
 
Starting May 4, retail businesses and other non-critical businesses may begin offering curbside pick-up. This will put up to 30,000 Minnesotans back to work in a safe, coordinated way. Businesses must:
Develop and publicly post a plan for how to open safely.
Use online payment whenever possible.
Employees and customers should wear masks and protective equipment.
In curbside pick-up scenarios, social distancing guidelines apply. If possible, customers should not leave their vehicle.
In delivery scenarios, items should be deposited outside a customer’s residence.
 
Minnesotans should also continue to telework whenever possible, wear face masks in public, screen for symptoms and regularly check their temperature, and maintain physical distance from each other.
 
“Listening to Minnesota business and labor leaders on how to ensure the safety of workers and customers is at the core of our decision-making process,” said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “Today’s announcement is the right next step to help more Minnesotans safely return to work and to reopen more businesses to get our economy ramping up again.”
 
In the time Minnesotans have bought by staying home, Minnesota has:
Announced a landmark testing strategy that will allow us to complete up to 20,000 tests a day and test every symptomatic Minnesotan.
Built hospital capacity and finalized a lease on an alternate care site to make sure that all Minnesotans who need care can receive it.
Worked to acquire more personal protective equipment to protect our frontline workers.
 

VICE PRESIDENT PENCE TO REVIEW MINNESOTA TESTING STRATEGY TODAY

April 28, 2020

Governor Tim Walz will walk Vice President Mike Pence through Minnesota’s new COVID-19 testing strategy. Following the announcement last week that Minnesota made a breakthrough in testing, Vice President Pence will travel to Rochester to tour Mayo Clinic’s facilities with Governor Walz and learn more about Minnesota’s groundbreaking testing capabilities. The Governor will showcase the public-private partnership that has positioned Minnesota as a national leader in the fight against COVID-19.
 
On April 22, Governor Walz, representatives of the state’s health care delivery systems, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota announced a breakthrough for rapid, widespread testing of COVID-19 in Minnesota to test all symptomatic people, isolate confirmed cases, and expand public health surveillance tools. This model will expand testing for up to as many as 20,000 Minnesotans per day and enhance contact tracing.
 
The Governor and the Vice President will participate in a roundtable discussion, tour the testing facilities, and hold a media availability organized by the Office of the Vice President.

The Department of Health, Department of Labor and Industry, and Department of Agriculture highlighted our public health support and outreach to ensure food processing facilities and workers can navigate the COVID-19 pandemic safely.
The food supply chain is a critical industry in Minnesota, but across the country, food processing facilities have been particularly vulnerable to outbreaks of the virus and have paused operations. The Walz-Flanagan Administration is taking seriously the need to keep workers and inspectors safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are in close partnership with facilities, labor, and local officials as we continue to work through this unprecedented time.

STUDENTS NOT RETURNING TO CLASSROOMS THIS SCHOOL YEAR

April 23, 2020

A day after announcing a statewide strategy for widespread testing, Governor Tim Walz today outlined next steps for the COVID-19 response in Minnesota. The Governor extended distance learning through the end of the school year, announced a plan for up to 100,000 workers to safely return to their jobs, and explained the different factors determining the gradual re-opening of society in Minnesota.
 
At his press conference today, Governor Walz explained his approach for moving Minnesota forward amid COVID-19. With the health and safety of Minnesotans his top priority, he made clear the Stay Home order remains in effect as we consider ways to gradually loosen restrictions starting with settings most conducive to safe practices.
 
Given those considerations, Governor Walz announced that distance learning will continue through the rest of the 2019-2020 school calendar year. The state continues to pursue opportunities to expand technology for students, provide guidance for educators on how to best connect with students, and support families.
 
“As a former teacher, this is a heartbreaking decision,” Governor Walz said. “I am sorry for all of our students who will miss out on graduations, tournaments, and end of year celebrations. While I recognize distance learning is a challenge for many families, it is critical to social distancing in Minnesota and supports the health of Minnesota’s families. We will continue looking for ways to improve the current system and better support our children.”
 
“Distance learning has created new challenges for all of us, but especially students of color, Native Americans, students in Greater Minnesota, students with disabilities, and low-income families, among others,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Students are missing their friends and routines, and families are struggling to work while helping their young learners. We can and must do more to ensure that every child is receiving the education they deserve and we will always put the safety and well-being of our families first.”
 
As he laid out his approach for gradually loosening restrictions on Minnesota businesses over time, Governor Walz today announced his decision to allow certain non-critical businesses to safely return to work. Developed in partnerships with hundreds of businesses, labor and worker organizations, and public health experts, this action will allow 80,000-100,000 Minnesotans to return to work in industrial, manufacturing, and office settings on Monday, April 27. 
 
This is a limited first step in the process of safely reopening some businesses and returning Minnesotans to work,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “We will continue to listen to and seek input from business and community leaders and work with public health experts on creative solutions to put more people back to work as safely and quickly as possible.”
 
Prior to loosening restrictions for a given setting, businesses must:
Create, share, and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that sets out the actions they are taking to ensure social distancing, worker hygiene, and facility cleaning and disinfection necessary to keep workers safe
Engage in health screening of employees and ensure that sick employees stay home
Continue to work from home whenever possible
 
Visit mn.gov/deed/safework for more information.
 
During the Stay Home Order, Minnesota has worked with hospitals to increase surge capacity; partnered with non-profits and foundations to provide critical support to Minnesotans; learned more about the virus and planned for what comes next; and partnered with Minnesota’s business community to purchase critical equipment, including more than 617,000 face masks, 127,000 face shields, 5.9 million non-latex gloves, 70,000 gowns and 418,000 N95 respirators.
April 21, 2020
Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan launched a statewide homemade mask drive to encourage Minnesotans to create homemade masks for donation and highlight the importance of workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.On Saturday, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Minnesotans can deliver homemade masks to their local fire department. Fire departments will then deliver the masks to local congregate living facilities for their employees and residents to wear.Visit Minnesota Homemade Mask Drive for design patterns, instructions, and more information.
Homemade Face Coverings: Donations Needed
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has compiled guidelines for outdoor recreational activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, based upon Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-38 Allowing for Safe Outdoor Recreation. The guidelines address public health protection measures for both authorized outdoor recreational facilities and the general public. For more information, visit DNR: COVID-19 Outdoor Recreation, Facilities and Public Guidelines.MDH MaterialsWe are adding new videos, print materials, and translated documents often. Check out the pages below to view, download, or print these resources.
Stay 6 feet from others
Materials and Resources for COVID-19 ResponseVideos for COVID-19 Response
The situation is changing rapidly. Visit Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for the most up-to-date information and follow MDH on FacebookTwitter, & Instagram to stay informed.

Governor Announces Public Private Partnership to Defeat Covid-19

April 21, 2020

Governor Walz and Ecolab CEO Doug Baker highlighted how public-private partnerships are strengthening Minnesota’s response to COVID-19. 

As the pandemic spreads across the globe, Minnesota’s health care professionals are competing with other states and countries for personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical care supplies like ventilators. Governor Walz today shared updates on his Administration’s work to leverage public-private partnerships to ensure that when the COVID-19 surge hits Minnesota, the state has the PPE and medical supplies needed to save as many lives as possible. The Governor highlighted the productive partnerships underway across the state that are helping Minnesota source supplies around the world.

Minnesota companies, big and small, have offered support to get scarce medical supplies necessary to protect front line health care workers. Companies like CH Robinson, Toro, Patterson, Woodchuck USA, Wintergreen, 3M, and Mayo have all stepped up. 


One notable example, Ecolab, Inc. pledged the company’s assistance in helping the state source supplies from around the world. Jill Wyant, Ecolab’s Executive Vice President and President of Global Regions, is coordinating closely with the state in enlisting supply chain, procurement, and logistics expertise from the state’s top companies.

The Governor and Commissioners of Agriculture, Health, and Labor and Industry also commented on the COVID-19 outbreak in Worthington and voluntary closing of the JBS pork plant. They acknowledged the difficulty this poses for the community but highlighted the importance of worker safety, need for additional testing, and communication with local officials and community leaders to help those affected by the plant closur

Steps Taken to Open Midwest Economy

April 16, 2020

Governor Tim Walz joined the governors of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky in announcing that they will work in close coordination to reopen the economy in the Midwest.

Here in the Midwest, we are bound by our commitment to our people and the community. We recognize that our economies are all reliant on each other, and we must work together to safely reopen them so hardworking people can get back to work and businesses can get back on their feet,” the governors said. 

Governor Walz’s number one priority has been, and will remain, the health and safety of Minnesotans. As we look to reopen Minnesota’s economy, we will make decisions based on facts, science, and recommendations from experts in health care, business, labor, and education.

The governors will examine at least these four factors when determining when best to reopen our economy:

  • Sustained control of the rate of new infections and hospitalizations.
  • Enhanced ability to test and trace.
  • Sufficient health care capacity to handle resurgence.
  • And best practices for social distancing in the workplace.

Phasing in sectors of our economy will be most effective when we work together as a region. This doesn’t mean our economy will reopen all at once, or that every state will take the same steps at the same time. But close coordination will ensure we get this right. Over time, people will go back to work, restaurants will reopen, and things will go back to normal.

Walz Extends Peacetime Emergency for Minnesota

April 13, 2020

Today, Governor Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-35 extending the peacetime emergency in Minnesota for 30 days.

“Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” said Governor Walz. “The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us – an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and wellbeing and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly-evolving situation.”

Governor Walz declared a peacetime emergency to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 13, 2020. On March 15, Minnesota detected the first confirmed cases caused by “community spread”—infections not epidemiologically linked to overseas travel. By March 17, all 50 states had reported a confirmed case of COVID-19. And on March 21, the Minnesota Department of Health announced the first confirmed fatality due to COVID-19 in Minnesota.

Since the Governor declared a peacetime emergency, Minnesota has taken strong steps to respond to and provide relief for COVID-19: closure of schools and implementation of a distance learning period; enhanced protections for veterans in our veterans homes; activation of the National Guard to assist in relief efforts; measures to preserve personal protective equipment; temporary closure of bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation; efforts to provide economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic; regulatory changes allowing our state agencies and licensing boards to ensure fast relief to Minnesotans; and an order directing Minnesotans to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus. Today’s extension of the peacetime emergency is necessary for many of these measures to continue.

This extension of the peacetime emergency is effective today through May 13, 2020, and the Governor will seek the Executive Council’s approval of the extension this afternoon.

Minnesota Reports 91 New Cases of COVID-19

April 11. 2020

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm today announced that state health officials confirmed another 91 COVID-19 cases, for a new total of 1,427 cases in the state.

Counties of residence of these new cases are as follows: Hennepin (49), Olmsted (6), Ramsey (8), St. Louis (3), Anoka (3), Dakota (2), Washington (4), Carlton (1), Goodhue (2), Wright (2), Becker (1), Dodge (1), Freeborn (1), Mower (1), Martin (1), Otter Tail (1), Renville (1), Scott (1), and Wilkin (1). County of residence data was not immediately available for two cases. 

A total of 340 COVID-19 cases have been hospitalized in Minnesota to date. Currently 145 cases are hospitalized, with 69 in intensive care. 

Sadly, today’s update includes another seven COVID-19 deaths, for a new statewide total of 64. The age range and county of residence of today’s announced deaths:

  • 3 Hennepin County residents in their 90s
  • Nicollet County resident in their 90s
  • Ramsey County resident in their 90s
  • Winona County resident in their 80s
  • Wright County resident in their 80s

“We can never forget that these numbers are in fact beloved family members, friends and neighbors who are mourned,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “We express our condolences and our commitment to continuing the work of protecting Minnesotans the best we can. It is very important for all Minnesotans to do their part in that effort by following social distancing guidelines and other public health recommendations.”

Governor Walz Extends Stay Home Order Until May 4, 2020

To continue Minnesota’s success in slowing the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Governor Tim Walz today extended the Stay Home Order until May 4.

“What we are doing is working, Minnesota,” said Governor Walz. “We are taking this seriously, and we are staying home. While Minnesota is showing lower rates of infections than our peers across the country, now is not the time to let up or allow that trajectory to change. Updated federal guidance and our own public health experts are showing that if we keep staying home, we will save lives – which is why I made the data-driven decision to extend the Stay Home Order until May 4.”

The Governor’s order to stay home is forecasted to significantly slow the spread of COVID-19, pushing out the peak of the disease and allowing the state to continue key preparations for the pandemic. These preparations include building new hospital capacity and buying ventilators and masks, planning for how to protect those most at risk, expanding testing, and freeing up time for health care giants like the Mayo Clinic to develop critical treatments for the virus. The Stay Home Order is now extended to 11:59 pm on May 3, 2020.

“As a mom and a daughter, I know how challenging this is for Minnesota families – but it is working,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “These decisions are guided by the best-available data, and we are constantly responding to new information and challenges. Staying home is the best strategy we have, and it is saving lives, especially of our most vulnerable.”

Consistent with the extended Stay Home Order, Executive Order 20-33 also extends the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations through 11:59 pm on May 3, 2020 and outlines exemptions to the Stay Home Order, including exempted activities and critical sector workers.

“We’re facing an historic public health crisis, and Minnesotans are rising to the challenge,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “The social distancing and community mitigation efforts Governor Walz implemented have secured us much-needed time to prepare more fully for the predicted peak in cases, and today’s announcement gives us a better chance to save even more lives. We are thankful for the tremendous effort and sacrifices Minnesotans are making.”

Under the extended order, Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:

  • Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home is unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or reasons related to essential operations.
  • Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies.
  • Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing.
  • Necessary supplies and services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out.
  • Essential intrastate and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state.
  • Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household.
  • Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home.
  • Moving or relocation, such as moving to a new home or place of residence.
  • Voting, including all local and state elections.
  • Funerals, provided that no more than ten attendees are gathered and strict social distancing is enforced.
  • Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation.

Executive Order 20-33 also orders that all workers who can work from home must do so. Workers in critical sectors who cannot work from home are permitted to go to work. Guidance related to critical sectors is available at http://mn.gov/deed/critical/.

The Governor’s Executive Order will have the full force and effect of law upon approval by the Executive Council.

DAILY COVID-19 MEDIA UPDATE: April 6, 2020

Today, Governor Walz launched a helpline to report and ultimately reduce discrimination against our Asian Pacific Islander neighbors. He also announced new financial assistance grants are now available to veterans and signed two executive orders, one to increase mental health resources and another to provide immediate relief to employers and unemployed workers during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Discrimination helpline

Amid rising reports of discrimination from the Asian Pacific Islander community, Governor Tim Walz launched a Discrimination Helpline today to reinforce the state’s efforts to protect the civil rights of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The helpline will allow Minnesotans who experience or witness discrimination to report incidents directly to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The helpline is staffed Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“Minnesotans are resilient people who support their neighbors when the going gets tough,” Governor Walz said. “As Asian Americans in Minnesota report heightened cases of discrimination amid COVID-19, my message is clear: Viruses don’t discriminate, and neither do we.”

Minnesotans may call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or complete and submit this online form.

Support for Veterans 

 

Governor Walz also announced today that Minnesota veterans impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for $6.2 million in financial assistance grants from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA). 

Starting today, MDVA is accepting applications from Minnesota veterans who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. MDVA will award one-time financial relief grants in the amount of $1,000. 

Mental Health and Unemployment Resources 

 

The Governor signed two executive orders today that will authorize out-of-state mental health providers to provide telehealth services to Minnesota patients and provide immediate relief to employers and unemployed workers during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Executive Order 20-28 authorizes out-of-state mental health providers to treat Minnesota patients via telehealth services to help ensure that the mental health needs of Minnesotans are met during the stress and uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Minnesotans receive mental healthcare services from providers in neighboring states. Executive Order 20-28 ensures that care can continue. 

To provide relief to Minnesota’s workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, Executive Order 20-29 provides an administrative fix to streamline applications for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and will help Minnesota qualify for additional federal UI funds.

Updates from the Governor, Thursday, April 2, 2020

Governor Walz today announced that Minnesota’s health plans have agreed to waive costs for treatment of COVID-19. This move comes in response to a March 13 letter from the Governor and State Commissioners of Health and Commerce urging Minnesota health plans to remove barriers to coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minnesotans with commercial insurance—including individuals, small businesses, and some large businesses—are now eligible for the following benefits:

  • Minnesotans will have no cost-sharing charges for COVID testing.
  • Minnesotans who are hospitalized will have no cost-sharing charges for in-network hospitalization.
  • Minnesotans will have expanded access to telemedicine services. This will help people stay home and access care if they need it.

This move will help ensure no Minnesotan has to sacrifice paying rent or buying groceries to cover a hospital bill from COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “I’m grateful Minnesota’s health plans are putting the health and safety of our fellow Minnesotans first during this pandemic.”

Minnesota’s non-profit health plans that have committed to this framework:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
  • HealthPartners
  • Hennepin Health
  • Medica
  • PreferredOne
  • UCare

Many Minnesotans that receive coverage through their employer have self-insured plans. The Departments of Health and Commerce do not have regulatory authority over these plans but are encouraging employers to work with their plan administrators to implement similar measures.

State of the State

Governor Walz will give his annual State of the State address on Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. from the Governor’s Residence. The address will be streamed live Y.ou can tune in on local news or his Facebook page

Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Up-to-date guidance from the Department of Health on recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here.

Resources

Updates from the Governor

March 30, 2020

Governor Walz today announced Department of Administration Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis will lead the Administration’s procurement operation for COVID-19, and direct the State’s efforts in procuring critical lifesaving care supplies. Commissioner Roberts-Davis will focus on managing inventories, securing needed supplies such as personal protective equipment and ventilators, and developing solutions to offset supply shortages for hospitals and emergency responders. Her strong background in procurement and public-private partnerships will serve Minnesota well in the weeks and months to come. 

Governor Walz also thanked educators who started their first official day of distance learning today and reiterated that the Stay At Home order does not mean anyone should stay somewhere unsafe. There are places of sanctuary open for anyone facing abuse or violence. Minnesota’s statewide crisis hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1.866.223.1111 or by text at 612.399.9995. 

PSAs

Last week, Governor Tim Walz launched a Stay Home MN public service announcement (PSA) campaign. In the PSAs, Governor Walz encourages Minnesotans to help slow the spread of infection by staying home and directs them to the Minnesota Department of Health website for more information. With those PSAs already running on television, the Governor’s Office is working with the Minnesota Newspaper Association to begin running print versions of the PSAs in newspapers across the state.

“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our state,” said Governor Walz. “The State of Minnesota and our private partners are doing everything we can to protect Minnesotans, but we need your help. Minnesotans, stay home and let’s make sure we keep our family, our friends, and our neighbors safe.” 

Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Up-to-date guidance from the Department of Health on recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here.

Resources

WALZ SIGNS AID PACKAGE

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 DAILY COVID-19 MEDIA UPDATE: March 28, 2020

Today, Governor Walz signed a comprehensive COVID-19 package allocating $330 million in aid for Minnesota’s response, which will help our state care for our most vulnerable in the face of an unprecedented crisis. The legislature passed the bill with broad bipartisan support on March 26. 

“The swift, bipartisan passage of this bill is One Minnesota in action,” said Governor Walz. “Legislators put aside politics to fight the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of Minnesotans. We’re only in the early stages of Minnesota’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic – but this law will help ensure we have the right supports in place to prepare for what’s to come.”

HF 4531 includes the following actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, among many other policy proposals that will help Minnesotans:

  • Establishes the COVID-19 Minnesota Fund to support further action
  • Creates peacetime emergency child care grants
  • Provides COVID-19 assistance for veterans
  • Supports food shelves and food banks
  • Expands resources for emergency services and homeless shelters
  • Expands support available to small businesses
  • Extends disaster assistance for farmers to include losses due to COVID-19

Daily COVID-19 Media Update: March 27, 2020

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DAILY COVID-19 MEDIA UPDATE: March 27, 2020

Minnesota’s two-week Stay at Home order takes effect tonight at 11:59pm. To ensure critical information about COVID-19 is accessible to all Minnesotans, the Walz-Flanagan Administration partnered with TPT to provide closed captioning and translate PSAs into eight different languages (English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Russian, Amharic, Karen, and Oromo). You can access those videos here. In the PSAs, Governor Walz tells Minnesotans to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, describes the efforts the state is taking to protect Minnesotans, and directs them to the Minnesota Department of Health Website for more information.

Actions Today

Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Orders 20-21, 20-22, 20-23, and 20-24 providing support and greater flexibility for health care providers, commercial drivers, local governments, and constitutional officers in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executive Order 20-23 will keep health care workers in the workforce by giving health-related licensing boards flexibility in licensing requirements so COVID-19 related lapses in continuing education requirements don’t impact health care professionals’ ability to provide licensed care. The Executive Order allows health care professionals to temporarily defer continuing education requirements, allows emergency medical service providers to complete continuing education through distance learning, and extends temporary permits for nurses. While continuing background check requirements, it defers fingerprinting requirements until the end of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency and allows the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to put limits on dispensing Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to prevent shortages.

Executive Order 20-22 allows the State Auditor to work with local governments to adjust reporting deadlines for various financial reports, to prevent municipalities from having to divert resources that should be used to respond to communities’ critical needs during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.

Executive Order 20-21 amends Executive Order 20-07 to allow constitutional officers to implement leave for both classified and unclassified employees and to reassign and redeploy staff as needed.

Executive Order 20-24 provides hours of service and weight restriction relief for commercial vehicle drivers hauling livestock. The Order will help ensure producers and retailers maintain supply of essential products.

Updates from the Governor

March 26, 2020

Governor Tim Walz today joined leaders from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Department of Employment and Economic Development, Department of Education, and the State Emergency Operations Center to answer questions from the press on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor shared details on his package of bipartisan COVID-19 proposals, which he worked on with the Legislature to ensure Minnesotans have the support and the right resources to combat the pandemic. The legislation:

  • Creates a Minnesota COVID-19 Emergency Fund to keep our state operating
  • Helps businesses across the state secure private funding
  • Awards grants to licensed family and center-based child care providers who care for the children of health care and other emergency workers
  • Ensures continued funding for food systems
  • And provides needed help to local governments, tribal governments, and nonprofit partners protect people experiencing homelessness from exposure to the coronavirus and to mitigate additional spread of the disease.

The Governor also announced efforts coming out of his Children’s Cabinet to drive resources to child care providers, who are critical for our state’s emergency response. Today, six Minnesota Initiative Foundations launched an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota, serving families needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They join Think Small, who stepped up last week to issue grants to family child care programs in the metro area serving families of emergency workers.

“As our Administration responds to COVID-19, child care is critical to supporting our workforce and making sure kids have a safe place to be,” said Governor Tim Walz. “While we work with our legislative partners to provide support needed, we must take immediate action to bridge child care providers relief. That’s why I’m proud of this partnership that recognizes how safe and stable child care is essential to keeping Minnesotans safe and healthy.”

Governor Walz Issues Stay at Home Order for Minnesotans

Executive order directs Minnesotans to limit movement to slow the spread of COVID-19

[ST. PAUL, MN] – To slow the spread of COVID-19 across the state, Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to stay at home and limit movements outside of their home beyond essential needs. This order takes effect at 11:59pm on Friday, March 27 and ends at 5:00pm on Friday, April 10.

“We must take bold action to save the lives of Minnesotans,” said Governor Walz. “Having served as a Command Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard, I know the importance of having a plan. While the virus will still be here when this order ends, this action will slow the spread of COVID-19 and give Minnesota time to ready for battle.”

Modeling released today by the Minnesota Department of Health and University of Minnesota predicts that more than 70,000 Minnesotans could die from COVID-19 if we take no action. The Governor’s two-week order to stay home is forecasted to significantly slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow the state time to make key preparations for the pandemic. These preparations include building hospital capacity, increasing access to life-saving equipment like ventilators, increasing testing, planning for how to care for vulnerable populations, and assessing public health data to determine which community mitigation strategies are most effective.

“We will work with our world-renowned health care sector, cutting-edge manufacturers, innovative business community, and strong-spirited Minnesotans across the state to tackle this virus head on,” Governor Walz continued. “These are trying times. But we are Minnesotans. We see challenges—and we tackle them. No matter how daunting the challenge; no matter how dark the times; Minnesota has always risen up—by coming together. If we unite as One Minnesota, we will save lives.”

Minnesotans may leave their residences only to perform any of the following activities, and while doing so, they should practice social distancing:

·         Health and safety activities, such as obtaining emergency services or medical supplies

·         Outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, hunting, or fishing

·         Necessary Supplies and Services, such as getting groceries, gasoline, or carry-out

·         Essential and interstate travel, such as returning to a home from outside this state

·         Care of others, such as caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household

·         Displacement, such as moving between emergency shelters if you are without a home

·         Relocation to ensure safety, such as relocating to a different location if your home has been unsafe due to domestic violence, sanitation, or essential operations reasons

·         Tribal activities and lands, such as activities by members within the boundaries of their tribal reservation

“Our top priority is the health and safety of Minnesotans,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “As the mom of a first-grader and the daughter of a parent with underlying health conditions, I know that the coming weeks will be difficult for many Minnesota families, but social distancing is the most important action we can take as a community to limit the spread of COVID-19 and care for each other.”

“Public health and health care workers around the state are working incredibly hard to protect Minnesotans from this outbreak, and we need all Minnesotans to do their part to slow the spread,” Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “These new measures will buy us much-needed time to secure additional resources and line up additional protections for our most vulnerable Minnesotans.”

Workers who work in critical sectors during this time are exempt from the stay at home order. These exemptions are based on federal guidance from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with some Minnesota-specific additions. This includes, but is not limited to, jobs in:

  • Healthcare and public health;
  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders;
  • Emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers;
  • Child care;
  • Food and agriculture;
  • News media;
  • Energy;
  • Water and wastewater; and
  • Critical manufacturing.

The Governor also today issued executive orders extending the closure of bars, restaurants, and other public accommodations set forth in Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-08 until May 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm and authorizing the Commissioner of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota’s students beginning on March 30 through May 4, 2020.

The Governor’s Executive Orders will have the full force and effect of law upon approval by the Executive Council.

Updates on the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota are available here. Frequently asked questions are available here

CITY OF SAINT PAUL UPDATES

March 24, 2020
Saint Paul’s parks and open spaces remain open for public use, and we continue to monitor guidance from public health officials. If you plan to visit a park, we encourage all users to follow these recommendations: Refrain from using parks or trails if you are sick or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

Refrain from using parks or trails if you are at a higher risk of illness.  
Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other individuals at all times. 
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water after you use the parks, per the CDC’s guidance 
Effective immediately, Eureka Recycling will no longer collect bagged clothes and linens. Please make sure all recyclable materials fit loosely in your recycling cart, without plastic bags. 

Share Your Feedback on Ayd Mill Road – Through March 30: 
Following federal and state guidelines, Saint Paul Public Works canceled the scheduled Ayd Mill Road in-person community meeting on March 19. To continue to meet the project timeline, share project information and gather community feedback, Public Works created a narrated PowerPoint presentation and is soliciting input about the recommended proposal online at www.stpaul.gov/aydmillroad

Saint Paul Public Works is suspending all sales of Residential Parking Permits until June 1, 2020. No Residential Parking Permits, including Visitor, Hangtags, and Day Passes in any Parking Permit Area will be sold at this time. For questions or more information, call 651-266-9777 during normal business hours or visit stpaul.gov/parkingpermits

Governor Walz Suspends Evictions, Supports Small Businesses, Addresses Hospital Equipment Shortage

March, 23, 2020
Executive orders suspend evictions, provide small business loans, direct inventory of protective equipment

Walz also released revised supplemental budget directing an additional $356 million toward COVID-response

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Walz today signed Executive Orders 20-14, 20-15, 20-16, and 20-17 to further strengthen Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These executive orders suspend evictions during the peacetime emergency, establish Peacetime Emergency Loans for small businesses, direct non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of personal protective equipment, and clarifies that Executive Order 20-09 on elective surgeries and procedures applies to veterinarians.

Providing housing stability for Minnesota families at a time of financial uncertainty, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-14 to suspend eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. Loss of housing is catastrophic at any time, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, this loss endangers the health and well-being of all Minnesotans. While this order clarifies that tenants who can continue to pay rent during the peacetime emergency should continue to do so, landlords and financial institutions cannot begin eviction proceedings that would remove tenants from stable housing.

Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-15 to authorize the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to establish a Small Business Emergency Loan program for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minnesota’s small businesses and independent contractors are amongst the worst hit by the pandemic. DEED’s emergency loan program will help Minnesota small business owners who need immediate assistance during COVID-19 closures.

As hospitals and health care providers report shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-16 directing all non-hospital entities to conduct an inventory of their PPE, ventilators, respirators, and anesthesia machines, report the result to the state, and either donate such equipment to a local coordinating entity or preserve it. On Saturday, Governor Walz directed the National Guard to transport PPE from storage at Camp Ripley to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Lastly, Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-17 to clarify that Executive Order 20-09, ordering all elective surgeries and procedures be postponed, applies to veterinary surgeries and procedures to conserve protective equipment. Surgeries and procedures that prevent loss of life, permanent dysfunction of an organ or extremity, or risk of metastasis or progression of staging for non-COVID-19 patients should not be postponed under this order. Additionally, in the context of veterinary medicine, threats to public health, the owner, or the animal may also be considered.

Executive Orders 20-14, 20-15, and 20-17 are subject to approval by the Executive Council and will have the full force and effect of law upon approval.

Also today, the Governor and Lt. Governor announced a revised supplemental budget, allocating an additional $356 million toward the state’s COVID-19 response. The revised budget would support and protect Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would provide emergency grants to child care centers; support families struggling financially through the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP); support veterans and their families facing financial burdens; increase funding for food shelves; offer small business loans; and increase resources for Minnesotans struggling with homelessness. The budget would also create a COVID-19 Minnesota Fund that would give the state government the resources necessary to deploy resources and respond to the needs of Minnesotans in real time.

In the original proposal, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor recommended paying back $491 million to the budget reserve and funding investments to prepare for emergencies, including Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This revised budget proposal leaves $811 million on the bottom

Statement From U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar

March 23, 2020
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) released the following statement regarding her husband John:

“I have news that many Americans are facing right now: my husband John has the coronavirus. We just got the test results at 7 a.m. this morning. While I cannot see him and he is of course cut off from all visitors, our daughter Abigail and I are constantly calling and texting and emailing. We love him very much and pray for his recovery. He is exhausted and sick but a very strong and resilient person.

“John started to feel sick when I was in Minnesota and he was in Washington D.C. and like so many others who have had the disease, he thought it was just a cold. Yet he immediately quarantined himself just in case and stopped going to his job teaching in Baltimore. He kept having a temperature and a bad, bad cough and when he started coughing up blood he got a test and a chest X-ray and they checked him into a hospital in Virginia because of a variety of things including very low oxygen levels which haven’t really improved. He now has pneumonia and is on oxygen but not a ventilator.

“While this is his story and not mine, I wanted to let my colleagues and constituents know that since John and I have been in different places for the last two weeks and I am outside the 14-day period for getting sick, my doctor has advised me to not get a test. As everyone is aware, there are test shortages for people who need them everywhere and I don’t qualify to get one under any standard.

“I love my husband so very much and not being able to be there at the hospital by his side is one of the hardest things about this disease.

“I hope he will be home soon. I know so many Americans are going through this and so much worse right now. So I hope and pray for you, just as I hope you will do for my husband. Meanwhile I am working in the Senate to get help to the American people.”

Governor Walz to Self-Quarantine After Contact With COVID-19 

March 23, 2020
Governor not showing symptoms; will lead by example and work from home  

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced he will self-quarantine for a period of 14 days after learning he had contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The Governor was informed of the contact early this morning and has not left his home since.

“The most important thing Minnesotans can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay home,” said Governor Walz. “I’m using this as an opportunity to lead by example. Though I’m feeling healthy and not showing any symptoms, I’m going to work from home and model the protocol we are asking all Minnesotans to follow.”

A member of the Governor’s security detail tested positive for COVID-19 late last night on Sunday, March 22, 2020. The Governor was in close proximity to this individual late last week. While the Governor is not showing any symptoms, he will begin his self-quarantine today, Monday, March 23, 2020 until Monday, April 6.

The Center for Disease Control recommends that individuals who have a known contact with COVID-19 self-quarantine for 14 days as a precautionary measure to avoid accidentally spreading the virus. The Minnesota Department of Health recently recommended that all Minnesotans work remotely when possible. 

“Because our state must maintain essential services, not every Minnesotan is able to stay home,” continued Governor Walz. “Those of us who are able to work from home must do so out of respect to our health care professionals, first responders, pharmacists, grocers, child care providers, and all Minnesotans who are working to keep us safe during this crisis.” 

The Governor will continue to oversee the State of Minnesota’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Walz-Flanagan Administration is prepared to combat the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of which location the Governor is working from. 

“I’m grateful for the State of Minnesota’s sophisticated emergency management operation that allows me to govern and respond to crises from the Minnesota Governor’s Residence,” continued Governor Walz. “We will continue to communicate with Minnesotans about our quick and aggressive work to combat the spread of COVID-19.”

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MN National Guard to Provide Assistance

DAILY COVID-19 MEDIA UPDATE: March 22, 2020

Last night, Governor Walz announced a new Executive Order authorizing the Minnesota National Guard to provide assistance during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency. The Minnesota National Guard’s initial mission is to transport personal protective equipment (PPE), such as protective face masks, from storage at Camp Ripley to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Executive Order 20-13 helps address the critically low supply of PPE in Minnesota’s hospitals and health care facilities, as well as the delivery delays from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile.

“In times of need, Minnesotans pull together to make sure we have the resources and supplies we need to get through challenges,” said Governor Walz. “Minnesota’s hospitals, health care facilities, and first responders are in desperate need of personal protective equipment, and I’m grateful to have the Minnesota National Guard’s partnership in delivering these supplies for Minnesotans.”

Activation of the Minnesota National Guard has already begun and is active through the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.  

Today at 2pm, Governor Walz will hold a media availability on COVID-19 in Minnesota and the State’s response. The best way to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy is to follow trusted information sources like MDH. 

Previous Actions by Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan

March 20: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-10 combatting price gouging.

March 20: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-11 securing Federal authority to continue human services programs.

March 20: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-12 preserving access to human services programs.

March 19: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-09 to delay elective surgeries and procedures in order to conserve health care resources and reduce contact between patients and providers.

March 18: Governor Walz took action to support businesses affected by COVID-19 by announcing a 30-day Sales and Use Tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04.

March 18: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-08 clarifying the types of businesses and places of public accommodation subject to closure per Executive Order 20-04. The executive order clarifies that the closure order applies to salons, barbershops, and other similar establishments.

March 17: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-07 providing paid leave for state employees who are not able to work for reasons related to COVID-19 and suspended the waiting period for insurance coverage for new employees.

March 17: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-06 to exempt vehicles and drivers providing direct assistance for emergency relief efforts in response to COVID-19 from certain regulations including provisions on weight and hours of service.

March 17: Governor Walz signed Ch. 70 S.F. 4334 into law, allocating $200 million toward an emergency and long-term grant program to respond to the needs of health care and long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 16: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-05 to strengthen Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and ensure that workers who are not able to work as a result of COVID-19 have benefits available. Specifically, this Executive Order waives the employer surcharge and allows the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to pay unemployment benefits immediately, providing fast relief to employees who need it.

March 16: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-04 to order the temporary closure of Minnesota restaurants and bars to dine-in customers. He also ordered the temporary closure of other places of public accommodation and amusement, including theaters, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs.

March 16: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-03 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota’s Veterans Homes. This executive order allows Veterans Homes to protect residents and staff by temporarily restricting visitors, reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread among residents.

March 15: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-02 authorizing the temporary closure of Minnesota K-12 public schools to students in order for school administrators and teachers to make long-term plans for the continuity of education and essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 13: Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-01 declaring a peacetime emergency in Minnesota and unveiled legislative proposals to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guard Against Price Gouging

March 21, 2020
Minnesota Attorney General Kieth Ellison released a telephone number to report instances of price gouging, hate crimes, and immigration concerns with regard to the public’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Realizing not everyone has access to online services, Ellison says call 651-296-6196.

Members of the delegation have continued to call on the Administration to provide critical assistance to the State of Minnesota in its efforts to respond to and mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including a letter to Vice President Pence last week.  

MN Congressional Members Urge Administration to Expedite Delivery of Critical Medical Supplies

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Representatives Angie Craig (MN-02), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), and Collin Peterson (MN-07) wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calling on the Administration to expedite the delivery of personal protective equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to Minnesota as the state confronts the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). State officials have made several requests for items from the SNS, however health care professionals are still waiting for the majority of these critical supplies.

“HHS has rightly mobilized the SNS in response to the current unprecedented need for medical supplies—including ventilators, masks, shoe covers, gowns, and gloves—for our hospitals. But while our state has made several requests for items from the SNS, state officials and health care professionals are still waiting for the majority of these critical supplies,” the members wrote. “In order to protect both the patients and the selfless frontline health care workers who treat them, Minnesota needs the full amount of supplies that it has requested to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Full text of today’s letter to HHS can be found HERE and below:

Dear Secretary Azar:
We write to ask the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expedite delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to Minnesota as our state confronts the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).    

HHS has rightly mobilized the SNS in response to the current unprecedented need for medical supplies—including ventilators, masks, shoe covers, gowns, and gloves—for our hospitals. But while our state has made several requests for items from the SNS, state officials and health care professionals are still waiting for the majority of these critical supplies. In order to protect both the patients and the selfless frontline health care workers who treat them, Minnesota needs the full amount of supplies that it has requested to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, these PPE products and supplies are essential in taking patient samples and processing tests for the virus—which has also been troublingly slowed down in our state due to supply chain shortages.

We have heard from health care professionals in Minnesota that there is an urgent need for information regarding what specific types of medical supplies and equipment will be allocated to the state, how much will be sent, and when it will be distributed. As the number of coronavirus patients and coronavirus-related hospitalizations grows by the day and seriously strains our health care system’s ability to keep workers safe and respond efficiently to patient needs, we call on you to take immediate action to ensure the delivery of these supplies to Minnesota. We also ask that you provide responses to the following questions:

1. How is HHS determining which states receive certain medical supplies?
2. When will Minnesota receive the full order of medical supplies that state officials have requested?
3. How is the Administration planning to address the serious shortages in medical supplies and equipment being reported nationwide?

Thank you for your response to this urgent inquiry.