MN Government Updates 05.22

Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm held a press briefing with reporters to update the public on state efforts and information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced that the state had a record high number of COVID-19 cases. There were more than 800 new laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 since yesterday’s report. This brings the state’s total number to 19,005 cases of COVID-19.
  • The state also had the highest total of deaths with 33 additional Minnesotans dying due to COVID-19. Of the 33, 27 were residents of long-term care facilities. The state has had 842 deaths due COVID-19.
  • Currently, 534 patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19 with 233 of those in the ICU.
  • Yesterday, 7,415 COVID-19 tests were processed in the state.
  • The commissioner announced that Governor Walz has directed all flags at state and federal buildings in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff, effective immediately, until sunset on Sunday, May 24, 2020, to remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19 in accordance with a proclamation issued by the President.
  • She also announced that the state will offer free COVID-19 testing at six sites across Minnesota this weekend.

Minnesotans who need or want to be tested for COVID-19 will be able to access free testing at six National Guard Armory locations across Minnesota throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend: Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25. The locations include:

  • East St. Paul
  • Minneapolis
  • Moorhead
  • Duluth
  • Faribault
  • St. James
  • Minnesota National Guard members will have the capacity to collect roughly 2,000 samples per day across six sites, for a total capacity of roughly 6,000 tests over the three-day weekend. The sites are hosted by the Minnesota National Guard, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the State Emergency Operations Center, which is the central coordinating cell for the majority of COVID-19 operations.
  • The testing teams at each site are comprised of a coalition of National Guard members and state or local public health employees. Social distancing and the practice of wearing a mask will be enforced at the testing locations. Anyone experiencing symptoms should self-quarantine before and after their test until they receive their results.
  • Starting Saturday, May 23, through Monday, May 25, the following National Guard facilities will be open to conduct testing through the weekend from 10 A.M. – 5 P.M. daily (or until supplies are exhausted).
  • When asked if the Minnesota Department of Health will agree with new forthcoming CDC guidelines on attending faith services as announced by President Trump earlier today, Commissioner Malcolm responded that Governor Walz is in communication faith leaders and that it’s possible the department may have some suggestions that differ in some ways from the CDC guidelines, but she will review them once they are available.
  • When asked how the Department of Health’s recommendations might differ from CDC guidelines, Commissioner Malcolm responded, “We want to reserve the right to be more specific with our guidance depending on what the CDC might come up with. There have been some well-publicized outbreaks associated with places of worship, which had led to concern.” She noted that such recommendations would include strongly recommending good social distancing, limitations on the number of people in attendance, and limits on activity (such as singing and shaking hands).

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

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