LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM
REP. JEREMY MUNSON - DISTRICT 23-B
Monday, March 16, 2020
Hello, friends. I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on some of the recent news and activities here at the Minnesota State Capitol regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
Latest Figures Regarding COVID-19
Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health announced today that they have confirmed 54 cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota (an increase of 19 cases from yesterday). Furthermore, health officials have reported that two of the new, confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in Blue Earth County and Sherburne County. As such, we now know that COVID-19 is spreading to rural Minnesota.
Globally, there have been more than 169,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 6,500 deaths from the disease.
In the United States, there have been 3,774 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 69 deaths from the disease.
The Minnesota Department of Public Health has set up a hotline for Minnesotans to call regarding COVID-19. This line will provide citizens with helpful information, answer questions, and direct people to the proper resources.
Here is the hotline number: 651-201-3920.
The Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health have the most updated and important information regarding COVID-19.
Here is a link to helpful information from the Center from Disease Control (CDC) regarding COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Additionally, here is a link to helpful information from the Minnesota Department of Health regarding COVID-19: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/index.html
COVID-19 and Social Distancing
While most people who come down with COVID-19 will not find themselves in danger and will recover easily, we must take the disease seriously, and deal with it appropriately. Senior citizens and immuno-compromised are usually in danger if they get the virus. Stopping the outbreak of this disease requires the participation of every citizen. Wash your hands regularly, cover your sneeze or cough in the crook of your arm, and avoid touching your face. This will help everyone prevent the disease from spreading - especially to those who can be hurt by it.
Furthermore, COVID-19 is a disease that spreads through close contact with other individuals. As a result, health experts are urging individuals to avoid large crowds of people and to practice social distancing. The Center for Disease Control has discouraged gatherings of more than 50 people. However, even small gatherings of ten or twelve can lead to the spread of COVID-19. As such, limiting social interactions as much as possible is recommended. We need to look out for each other.
Response by the Legislature & the Governor
On Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency. This declaration will allow Gov. Walz to strategically allocate resources based on the needs of communities and healthcare professionals. Additionally, the Governor has decided to cancel classes for all K-12 schools in the state. The school cancellation will start on Wednesday and go until at least March 27th.
The Minnesota Legislature is committed to ensuring that we address this public health crisis. As such, last week we passed a coronavirus response package that allocated over $20 million to combat the spread of COVID-19. These funds will be used by the Minnesota Department of Health to ensure that health officials have the resources to address the developing situation.
Today, House and Senate leaders are working on compromise language that would increase the preparedness of Minnesota’s hospitals should this disease infect so many vulnerable people that it would exceed the capacity of our hospitals’ ability to provide proper care. Stay tuned.
Furthermore, the Minnesota Legislature recessed today. The recess is scheduled to go until April 14th. This was done to prevent the legislature from becoming a place where COVID-19 has the potential to spread. However, the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate have the ability to reconvene on short notice between now and April 14th, if need be, to address immediate issues as they may develop.