COVID-19 in Minnesota
So, like pretty much all of the other predictions Gov Walz has publicized about the COVID-19 pandemic, the schedule for vaccine distribution is significantly ahead of where they thought they would be and providers across the state are pressuring for broader eligibility requirements to give them more flexibility with available dosing. You can see more of the distribution summaries here: Vaccine Data
Due to the saturation level of distribution in some areas of the state in the targeted eligible groups, Gov. Walz announced that they are opening up the vaccine eligibility to all those 16 years of age and up starting March 30th. This does not change the priority rankings for those scheduling and receiving vaccines. It does allow providers who do not have higher ranked individuals waiting to distribute doses to those who wish to partake. In higher density populations, it could still be hard to get an appointment for the next several weeks but there are spots opening up for those willing to travel a bit.
Below are some resources that may assist you and your family in scheduling your vaccines should you wish to and have not yet been able to.
- Sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get updates on vaccine opportunities and to be entered into the random slection process for the state's Community Vaccination Program sites.
- Connect online with your health care provider.
- Connect online with your pharmacy.
- Search for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment near you by using the CDC’s Vaccine Finder.
- Use the Vaccine Locator Map to find local vaccine providers in your area.
The Walz administration anticipates that every eligible Minnesotan who wants the vaccine should be able to get one by the end of May.
Given the broad distribution they are reporting, Walz has also deigned to allow schools to provide for in-person proms and graduations in new guidance from the MN Dept. of Health. There are significant restrictions on the activities and the numbers allowed in groups with no 'inter-mixing' with others outside your group. Additionally, things like no food or drink can be served after 11pm and food only in designated areas. Larger schools are now in the planning process for how they can find available space to provide the distances required and methods for determining 'pod' designations.
It does help that there have been additional adjustments made in restrictions for businesses and entertainment facilities that will be effective in some areas on April 1st and other areas on April 15th. This allows for greater capacity in entertainment venues - both indoor and outdoor - as well as gyms and 'non-essential' services. You can find more details about these directives here: Stay Safe MN.
Unfortunately, despite several more votes in the MN House & Senate, Gov Walz still maintains the dictatorial position designated by his proclaimed Emergency. More than a year has gone by since he instituted this position and none of the conditions that were in his stated rational at the time currently exist. As a state, we are well positioned to manage any localized outbreaks, we have enough supplies, our hospitals are not over-run, and the dire predictions of deaths in the 10s of thousands which necessitated purchasing a state-operated building to serve as an overflow morgue NEVER materialized. In fact, that building was never suitable for occupation, and has never been used for anything other than supply storage - some of which was damaged due to a leaky roof.
The time has long since passed where we should let Minnesotans manage their own communities and address what needs they have and get the state out of the way.