MN Government Updates 05.08

Walz Press Briefing

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

Governor Tim Walz

  • Governor Walz called on the legislature to replenish and extend the COVID-19 Minnesota Fund.
  • On March 19, the governor signed into law the $200 million fund to provide resources to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19 and maintain state government operations during this crisis.
  • Currently, the fund has $65 remaining, which is set to expire on May 11.
  • Nearly $135 million has been allocated from the COVID-19 Minnesota fund to buy tests and testing materials, prepare for an alternate care site for an expected surge in hospitalizations, and procure much-needed personal protective equipment and hospital equipment such as masks, gloves, and ventilators.
  • The fund allows the state to quickly purchase needed items that keep Minnesotans safe and prevent the spread of the virus. Most of these expenditures are expected to be reimbursed through federal dollars the state has received or will received.
  • When asked about whether he’ll be extending his closure of bars and restaurants to dine-in customers after May 18, the governor responded that it was too early to say. He also said that opening up is no guarantee that customers will be there. The state’s goal is to open up safely so the customers will be there.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced the state has 720 additional laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. This brings the state total to 10,088 cases.
  • The state has seen an increase of 26 deaths since yesterday’s report – bringing the death total to 534. Of the 26 deaths, 25 were associated with residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Currently, 478 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 with 198 of those in the ICU.
  • The commissioner announced that the federal government is expected to send Minnesota a limited supply of remdesivir, a drug created by Gilead (a biopharmaceutical company).
  • Infectious disease experts have said remdesivir is showing promising trends in COVID-19 treatment.
  • It can cut down on hospital time that could help the state’s hospital capacity.
  • When asked when the new Minnesota COVID-19 model will be run, the commissioner responded that it would be public early next week.

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan

  • Lt. Governor Flanagan provided an overview of the work she’s doing co-leading the Community Resiliency and Recovery Work Group with Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. This work group has been:
  • Developing near and long-term strategies to help communities of color, refugees, and indigenous communities.
  • Listening to these communities to understand the impact.
  • Working on increasing transparency about the impact of COVID-19 on minority communities
  • The lieutenant governor noted one-quarter of people of color have applied for unemployment benefits. This includes:
    • 29.8% of American Indians in the workforce
    • 20.8% of Hispanics in the workforce
    • 22.4% of Asians in the workforce
    • 31% of black individuals in the workforce

Minnesota House to Convene Tomorrow

The Minnesota House of Representatives will convene tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. for a Saturday floor session to take up eight bills on the House calendar.

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

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