MN Government Updates 04.09

Governor Walz Daily Press Briefing

Governor Walz and administration officials held a conference call with reporters to update the public on state efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Walz

  • Governor Walz announced 11 more COVID-19 deaths. This brings the total to 50 fatalities in Minnesota.
  • The governor also announced that the Department of Revenue is extending the Sales and Use tax payment grace period to May 20, 2020.
  • Walz outlined two executive orders he issued last night.
  • Executive Order 20-31 exempts septic tank trucks from seasonal load restrictions on Minnesota roads. Many residential septic systems are failing to keep up with increased usage due to more Minnesotans teleworking and staying at home. Septic system service companies are receiving a high volume of calls from homeowners in need of emergency pumping services and lifting these restrictions will allow them to meet increased demand.
  • Executive Order 20-32 allows the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to use regulatory flexibility to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by authorizing the Commissioner of Health to suspend certain requirements for facilities that fall within MDH’s regulatory authority. This includes waiving the bed moratorium for hospitals and nursing homes to add surge capacity and allowing the establishment of free standing alternate care sites.
  • Walz mentioned that the Minnesota Department of Transportation is participating in the global “Light Blue” campaign. The I-35W Bridge will be lit up blue tonight to honor healthcare providers and essential workers.
  • When asked about what he’s looking for from the legislature when it reconvenes next week, the governor responded that he and the four caucus leaders have been working on help for small businesses and new measures for correctional facilities for disease containment. He expects those initiatives to be public ahead of Tuesday’s legislative session.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced that the state has 1,242 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19. This is up 88 since yesterday’s report.
  • The state had its largest number of deaths yesterday with 11 more deaths – bringing the total to 50.
  • Three patients were in their 70s.
  • Four patients were in their 80s.
  • Four patients were in their 90s.
  • Currently, 145 patients in the hospital currently. 63 of those are in the ICU.

Director Joe Kelly, Homeland Security & Emergency Management Division

  • Director Kelly announced that the state has sent a request to FEMA to receive reimbursement for providing non-congregate housing for those who have COVID-19 while they are quarantined.
  • If someone has tested positive, they have to go into isolation or quarantine until there isn’t a risk of infecting someone else.
  • If person is homeless or can’t return to his or her usual residence, the state needs to provide a safe place to quarantine. This means putting people into hotel rooms or dorms.
  • Receiving this reimbursement would allow the state to compensate the owner at cost.

Commissioner Steve Grove, Department of Employment and Economic Development

  • Commissioner Grove announced his department is working with business and labor leaders to come up with plans to remobilize the 18% of the workforce that’s not able to work currently once the COVID-19 situation starts to clear.
  • The commissioner also announced that 388,318 new applications for unemployment insurance have been submitted since March 16.
  • Additionally, he stated that 236,000 applications for unemployment benefits have been cleared for the federal benefit of $600 per week.
  • The top groups seeking unemployment benefits are:
  • Food preparation – 74,574 applications
  • Sales and service – 38,799 applications
  • Healthcare – 36,668 applications
  • Office and administrative support – 20,785 applications
  • Production – 20,491 applications

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
100 Washington Avenue S | Suite 2200 | Minneapolis MN  55401

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