Hello, friends. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on some of the recent news regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19: The Impact on Minnesota
As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, I have heard from constituents across my district in the last week. Businesses, workers, and families all have questions about COVID-19 and what it means for Minnesota. Many of these people have asked what they can do, and what they should do, during this difficult time.
First, I believe it is essential that we remain calm and level-headed during this time. Doing so will help everyone. Wash your hands, clean commonly used surfaces regularly. and practice social distancing. Also, do not go to your local grocery store and buy more than you need. We cannot continually disrupt the supply chain. Farmers, truck drivers, retail workers, and grocers are on the front lines of this pandemic. They are making sure that we are properly stocked, and they deserve our thanks and gratitude. You can do your part by buying only what you need. We all have a job to do.
Additionally, be mindful of Minnesotans who are indoors. Staying inside can be the safest place for old and immune-compromised people to be during this outbreak. Many people will be dealing with complex difficulties as they remain indoors for extended periods of time. We must look out for those who could fall victim to addiction relapses, domestic abuse, depression, and other serious issues while they are indoors. We need to deal with this as a community. Don’t be shy about calling your neighbors to see how they are doing.
Furthermore, I believe we need to take the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Governor seriously. Remember, most individuals with COVID-19 will not require hospitalization. Many people will simply exhibit mild, flu-like symptoms, if any symptoms at all. Nevertheless, we must be smart about this disease and take significant steps to lower the infection rate. Stay inside and don’t gather in groups. We must do this to keep everyone, especially those with weaker or compromised immune systems, safe.
Tools for Minnesotans
As a Minnesota State Legislator, part of my job is to make sure that my constituents are properly prepared for unexpected situations. As such, last week the Minnesota Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a $200 million dollar appropriation package to Minnesota hospitals. This funding helps ensure that our state’s hospitals will have the equipment, supplies, and other resources necessary, should they be pushed hard by this virus.
We must also be mindful of the economic impact this crisis is having on our state. One of the outcomes of the actions that the governor has taken, is that thousands of people have been furloughed or laid off from work at restaurants, bars, and other businesses.
To address the needs of workers, Governor Walz has signed an executive order which extends unemployment benefits to those affected by this economic downturn. We need to make sure that Minnesotans can pay their bills during these unprecedented times.
Specifically, the earliest an individual will receive their unemployment benefits is during the third week after establishing their benefit account. This is done because benefits are always requested for a past week, and processing this information takes time. Essentially, individuals must request an unemployment benefit payment for each week they are unemployed. This means submitting a new request every week until you are employed. The payments are calculated by a formula which includes the individual’s weekly work hours, whether they have other income, whether they pay child support, or if they are a student, etc. As such, every person’s payment will be unique to their situation.
Here is a link to the Minnesota government website with more information regarding unemployment benefits for workers: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/covid-19.jsp
Just today, Governor Walz issued a series of new executive orders. Among them, the Governor signed executive orders which prohibit evictions and foreclosures due to COVID-19, extend the tax deadline to July 15th to be in-line with the extended federal tax deadline, and establishes a new loan program for independent contractors.
Updated COVID-19 Figures
Finally, I want you to stay updated on how COVID-19 develops and how the numbers change across our state. As such, below you will find a link to the Pioneer Press’ tracking web page which will give Minnesotans an accurate picture of how this situation is developing within our state.
Here is the link: https://www.twincities.com/coronavirus-mn/cases-map/
Here is a link to updated figures regarding the national and international spread of COVID-19: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact me or my office. My email address is Rep.Steve.Drazkowski@house.mn. Additionally, please reach out to my Legislative Assistant, Luke, with any questions. Luke’s email is Luke.Sprinkel@house.mn. Emailing is the fastest way to get in contact with me. Contact me anytime with questions or concerns.
Rep. Steve Drazkowski