The COVID-19 crisis is unfolding quickly and evolving rapidly. Early Tuesday morning, lawmakers unanimously approved a $200 million package of investments in our public health response. The legislation helps ensure hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers are equipped to deliver the care Minnesotans who may become afflicted with COVID-19 will depend on.
As you’ve likely heard, Governor Tim Walz has issued a series of executive orders to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19 and plan for a potential spread of the illness, starting with the declaration of a peacetime emergency. He declared all schools be closed statewide until March 27 to plan for a safe education environment for every student and educator, and has ordered the temporary closure of bars, restaurants and most other gathering places. Many Minnesotans – workers and business owners alike – are experiencing a deep and sudden financial hardship as a result of these closures. To address these challenges, the Governor issued an executive order to provide for immediate payment of unemployment insurance benefits.
State leaders continue to work around the clock to address this crisis. Lawmakers are in constant communication with Governor Walz and his administration, and we continue to work on protections for Minnesotans. Legislation has been introduced to ban price gouging, protect compensation for hourly school district employees, provide resources for child care providers, a ban on co-pays or deductibles for COVID-19 testing, and a statewide moratorium on evictions. While members of the House of Representatives are exercising social distancing and most of us are away from the Capitol, we continue to work on ensuring Minnesotans are safe and healthy.
Here are some informational resources:
Questions about school and childcare:
Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7am-7pm daily)
*Childcare providers with questions should call 1-888-234-1268
Questions about health:
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7am-7pm daily)
Visit www.health.state.mn.us. The website also has sections in Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. Information in PDF format is available for other non-English languages, too: Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Hmong, Karen, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Several area organizations have launched mncovidresponse.com to compile a variety of other resources including food, utilities, and housing. The Governor’s office is also frequently sharing updates, including testing statistics and health guidelines, and you can subscribe to these here. The City of Saint Paul has a COVID-19 website set up with information from City Hall. Additionally, Mayor Carter has ordered all water shutoffs to be suspended, and is working with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office to suspend evictions, too. Metro Transit has information here.
We all have a part to play in “flattening the curve” and slowing down the spread of this illness. Continue to wash your hands often and thoroughly, cover your cough with your sleeve, and stay home if you aren’t feeling well. Also, please take MDH and the CDC’s advice about social distancing seriously and avoid congregating with others.
Check in with your neighbors, family members and friends who might be isolated or vulnerable, and do your best to be kind and patient with others. We will only be able to get through this challenge by caring for one another as Minnesotans always do. Please continue to contact me if I can be of assistance in any way. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.