COVID-19 Updates

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.