MN Government Updates 04.03

Walz Unveils Data Dashboard, Outlines State’s Priorities in Responding to COVID-19

Governor Tim Walz today unveiled a new State of Minnesota COVID-19 dashboard that tracks the virus in Minnesota and provides the latest available data on available ventilators, ICU beds, personal protective equipment (PPE), and testing. The dashboard will be updated daily and is available at https://mn.gov/covid19/.

“During Minnesota’s Stay Home Order, we’ve worked to collect data, increase the availability of necessary equipment, and develop strategies to address economic and social impacts of COVID-19,” said Governor Walz. “This dashboard will provide Minnesotans with timely, accurate information about the data that informs our decisions on COVID-19 response, recovery, and resources.”

“We’ve been working around the clock during this Stay Home Order to increase hospital capacity and better track the spread of this virus,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “This dashboard will help Minnesotans see the virus’s impact on Minnesota and the data that drives our response to COVID-19.” 

During Minnesota’s Stay Home Order, Minnesota’s priorities have been to collect data about COVID-19; increase the number of ICU beds, ventilators, and PPE needed to care for a surge in patients; and develop strategies to address the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 in Minnesota. Governor Walz has formed work groups to focus on critical response and recovery work, including hospital surge capacity, supplies, testing, and education and child care.

Governor Walz Daily Press Briefing April 2

Governor Walz

  • Governor Walz announced four more deaths due to COVID-19.
  • When asked about extending the “Stay at Home” Executive Order 20-20 beyond the April 10 deadline, the governor responded that there is a “probability” that the state will follow the federal guidelines and keep the order in place until the end of April.
  • Governor Walz reminded Minnesotans that his State of the State address will occur on Sunday, April 5 at 7:00 PM. The address will be delivered live from the Governor’s Residence and can be watched on YouTube Live.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced 789 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is 47 more than yesterday’s report.
  • She also announced four more deaths. This brings the state total to 22.
  • Three were associated with long-term care residents.
  • One had significant underlying health conditions.
  • Currently, 86 COVID-19 patients are in the hospital. This is 11 more than yesterday’s report.
  • 40 patients are in the ICU.
  • 86 patients are currently hospitalized.
  • Two correctional facilities have confirmed COVID-19 cases – Moose Lake and Red Wing.

Commissioner Malcolm said that wearing a non-medical grade mask is a way to protect others around you from you exposing them. The mask helps to prevent respiratory droplets from coming into contact with other people. The commissioner asked that Minnesotans not use medical grade or surgical masks. Medical staff and first responders need these masks.

Director Joe Kelly, Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division

  • Director Kelly announced that next week is Severe Weather Awareness Week.
  • The state will send out alerts and will conduct a tornado drill on Thursday, April 16.

Commissioner Paul Schnell, Department of Corrections

  • Commissioner Paul Schnell announced that each of the wardens for the state’s correctional facilities is implementing a “Stay with Unit” plan. This is the prison equivalent of the “Stay at Home” order.
  • With the “Stay with Unit” plan, the state plan is to minimize interaction by providing for unit-level separation.
  • The current goal is to:
  • Manage the state correctional facility capacity to meet the potential for a higher infection rate.
  • Keep those incarcerated connected to families and loved ones as well as to important educational programs.
  • The commissioner announced that the Moose Lake correctional facility has 7 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13 presumed positive cases.
  • One staff person is a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • One staff person is a presumed COVID-19 case.
  • Additionally, the Red Wing correctional facility has two staff who have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • There are no positive cases of COVID-19 cases at any other facilities.
  • The Stillwater and Lino Lakes correctional facilities have tests pending.

Minnesota Senate COVID-19 Response Working Group Holds Second Meeting

  • The Senate met for their second COVID-19 Response Working Group today – focusing on the economic impact on state businesses. Testifiers included DEED Commissioner Steve Grove, President Neel Kashkari of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and several small business owners from various sectors.
  • Commissioner Grove emphasized the large role that the federal government plays into small business relief in the long term. All testifiers brought up the importance of the state government needing to act quickly to support the urgent needs of small businesses. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) acknowledged this urgency and summarized his priorities and next steps including:
  • Considering delaying income and property taxes for businesses. This would include extending the April 15th income tax deadline to July 15th, and enacting a 60 day extension of the May 15th property tax deadline.
  • Further exploring and reconsidering regulations on which businesses have been mandated to shut down.

The next meeting of the Senate COVID-19 Response Working Group will be held on Monday, April 6, at 11:30 AM. The meeting will be focused on preparing state government budgets for a potential FY2021 General Fund deficit. The public may view livestream coverage on the Minnesota Senate’s Facebook page.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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