Early this morning, the Minnesota House of Representatives unanimously passed emergency COVID-19 health care funding, which provides $200 million in investments for a health care response fund and Minnesota’s public health response contingency account. Governor Walz has signed the bill into law.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will receive $150 million to make grants to eligible providers for costs related to planning for, preparing for, or responding to an outbreak of COVID-19. The grants may be used for:
- establishment and operation of temporary sites to provide testing services, to provide treatment beds, or to isolate or quarantine affected individuals;
- temporary conversion of a space for another purpose that will revert to its original use;
- staff overtime and hiring additional staff;
- staff training and orientation;
- purchasing consumable protective or treatment supplies and equipment to protect or treat staff, visitors, and patients;
- development and implementation of screening and testing procedures;
- patient outreach activities;
- additional emergency transportation of patients;
- temporary IT and systems costs to support patient triage, screening, and telemedicine activities;
- purchasing replacement parts or filters for medical equipment that are necessary for the equipment’s operation;
- specialty cleaning supplies;
- expenses related to the isolation or quarantine of staff (not including wages);
- other expenses not expected to generate income for the eligible provider after the outbreak ends.
The bill also includes an additional $50 million for the public health response contingency account.
We also passed a resolution allowing the legislature to adjourn for more than three days. The House and Senate will meet in floor and committee session on an on-call basis through April 14.
We are also working on solutions to many of the problems COVID-19 is presenting. Legislation has been introduced to place a statewide moratorium on evictions as well as provide emergency housing assistance to thousands of Minnesotans who may face housing instability. We’re also working on measures to ban price gouging, deliver assistance for childcare providers, ensure hourly educators and other school district workers receive compensation, and more.
Governor temporarily closes certain public spaces & improves Minnesota’s unemployment insurance
Late yesterday, Gov. Walz ordered 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. Take-out and drive-thru options are still available.
Gov. Walz also strengthened Minnesota’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund to ensure workers who are not able to work as a result of COVID-19 have benefits available. The Executive Order will allow the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to pay unemployment benefits immediately, providing fast relief to employees who need it. If your employment has been affected by COVID-19 please visit this site.
Yesterday, I offered some helpful resources and wanted to send this information to you again today:
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)
QUESTIONS for workers and employers:
651-259-7114 or 800-657-3858
Keeping our Communities Healthy
Please implement and share these recommendations to keep our communities healthy:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Stay home when sick;
- Implement social distancing, keeping 6 feet away from others under most circumstances;
- Encourage staff to telework when feasible;
- Cancel or postpone large events in excess of 250 people gathered together;
- Limit gatherings with participants at high risk for severe disease to less than 10 people.
Please continue to reach out with any input, ideas, or feedback about the issues important to you. I value hearing from you, so please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can also connect with me on Facebook here. It’s an honor to represent you at the State Capitol.