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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Tou Xiong (DFL)

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Legislative Update: COVID-19

Friday, March 13, 2020

Rep. Xiong

Neighbors, 

News is evolving quickly on the COVID-19 virus. Governor Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm held a news conference today to announce community mitigation strategies.

The strategies include:

  • Postpone or cancel large events of 250 or more people and smaller events that do not allow social distancing of 6 feet per person, and events where the majority of participants are at higher risk for severe illness, including at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes, and health support groups. 
  • Monitor local information about COVID-19 in your community.
  • Practice personal protective measures, including keeping social distance of at least 6 feet and washing hands frequently.
  • Put a household preparation plan in action.
  • Provide alternative learning environments for high-risk children.
  • Anyone with symptoms should stay home until symptom-free for at least one day.
  • Incorporate extra handwashing into daily routine and reinforce proper cover-your-cough procedures.
  • Employers stagger work schedules and limit non-essential work travel.
  • Health care facilities and assisted-living facilities more strictly limiting visitors.
  • Faith-based organizations offering video or audio events.

Legislative Action on COVID-19

This week, the House and Senate unanimously approved, and Gov. Walz signed into law, bipartisan legislation for immediate funding to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Other information and resources can be found on the Minnesota Department of Health website. The COVID-19 Hotline is available for questions at (651) 201-3920 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

This Wednesday, House DFL leaders announced additional COVID-19 measures to help prepare for the virus. A package of bills includes:

  • Clarification on when a governor can declare a peacetime emergency,
  • Establishing a loan account for overwhelmed health care providers,
  • Expansion of unemployment insurance to include sick time payments during a communicable disease outbreak,
  • Compensating hourly school workers for cancellation days,
  • Cost-free COVID-19 – related testing, treatment and quarantine
  • Banning price gouging on goods/services during an emergency.

Your best source of accurate and timely information is the Minnesota Department of Health.

The 2020 Census is Here!

Please check your mail in the coming days for an invitation to fill out the Census - An undercount of even a few thousand people can turn into a loss of millions of dollars and political representation at the local, state, and national levels. For a strong voice in government, every citizen must be counted.

Census data is critical to our children’s future and the next generation. It helps us get the health care, transportation, schools, affordable housing, and higher education that our children need to get a good start and be successful.

If you watch for the census materials in the mail and fill it out and return it when you receive it, then you do not need to answer the door to a Census Field Employee. By law, information they collect cannot be shared with anyone, including land lords, social workers, law enforcement, or employers. More information is available here.

Have a great weekend, and be mindful not only of your own health but the health of those around you!

Sincerely,
Rep. Tou Xiong

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