Today we face a truly unique situation and it’s critical that all of us adjust quickly to the guidelines issued by MDH to minimize the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. As the challenges of this outbreak mount, I remain laser-focused working on protecting the health of Minnesotans and our state’s economy.
While many non-essential entities are shutting down, the House will continue to remain in session in order to provide timely support to the governor’s office, the state and local agencies and the private sector as the situation requires.
However, there will be significant changes to normal operations in order to comply with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines including social distancing, limiting large gatherings, maximizing telework, and increased cleaning measures necessitated by COVID-19.
It’s important that we give priority to protecting and supporting those most vulnerable, which includes the elderly and those with underlying health issues. While my primary focus remains on supporting the governor, our state and local agencies and the private sector as they carry out COVID-19 related operations, please be assured I also remain available to assist the citizens of District 10B on non-COVID-19 related issues.
House committee hearings and floor sessions will be on an at-call basis through April 14. With maximum use of telework, phone conferencing and email, the Legislature and its staff will continue to carry out the people’s work. For those very limited, but necessary in-person hearings, workspaces in St. Paul are being reconfigured to comply with the social distancing guidelines provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
Early Tuesday morning, the House approved nearly $200 million in additional funding to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill provides $50 million to the Public Health Response Contingency Account for use by providers, ambulance services, health care clinics, hospitals, and long term care facilities. It also allocates $150 million to the newly-created Health Care Response Fund for grants to providers for costs necessary for COVID-19 response.
MDH hotlines are available to assist Minnesotans, including a public line (651) 201-3920 and a line for questions specifically related to schools and/or childcare (651) 297-1304. Several online resources also are available to help individuals stay up to date:
- MDH’s COVID-19 page: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
- Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 page: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-causes/syc-20479963
- CDC COVID-19 page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
This outbreak also is coming with great consequences for workers and business owners. The governor has issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have full access to unemployment benefits.
If your employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the department urges you to apply for unemployment benefits online. Visit the Unemployment Insurance Program website to learn more.