MN Government Updates 01.04.21

2021 Legislative Session Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate will officially convene at 12:00 p.m. for the 2021 Legislative Session.

More information on what’s on the agenda for this upcoming session can be found here.

Walz Expected to Announce Changes to COVID-19 Restrictions

This week, Governor Tim Walz is expected to announce changes to current COVID-19 restrictions. According to the Minnesota Reformer, the announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.

Currently, bars and restaurants are closed for indoor service through Sunday, January 10. Additionally, the governor’s current peacetime emergency powers are in effect through Wednesday, January 13.

Minnesota Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing with reporters to update the public on the spread of COVID-19 in the state and discuss COVID-19 vaccination plans.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm announced that the state has enough vaccine allocated and received to complete the first shots for the first priority group within Phase 1A, which is healthcare workers and residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities. While this doesn’t mean all the shots have been administered, the doses are ready for hospitals to administer to staff.
  • So far, 78,402 doses of vaccine have been administered in Minnesota.
  • Commissioner Malcolm said that the state’s COVID-19 situation has improved in Minnesota since the governor’s dial-back of activities in November, but that the improvement is tenuous if Minnesotans let down their guard. She noted that COVID-19 finds a way to surge back in terrifying ways, which has happened in other states and other parts of the world.
  • The commissioner reported 3,148 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 423,688. This includes about 650 cases from a prior backlog.
  • Just under 10,000 COVID-19 tests were processed yesterday.
  • Another 13 Minnesotans died due to COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 deaths to 5,443.
  • Currently, 810 patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19 with 156 of those in the ICU.
  • The state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate dipped below 5% for a few days in December around Christmas, but it has bounced back up to 5.9% and is headed toward 7%.
  • The commissioner said it’s going to take many months to vaccine people in Minnesota communities.

Director Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division

  • Director Ehresmann announced that vaccination of residents of Minnesota’s skilled nursing facilities started last week on December 28.
  • Until there is enough vaccine for everyone, the state is focused on immunizing for impact – those most likely to get COVID-19 and those most likely to have severe illness due to COVID-19.
  • As of December 30, Minnesota has received 221,500 doses of vaccine.
  • A sufficient amount of vaccine has been distributed for the groups in Tier One of Phase 1A. Now, hospitals are working through the logistics of storing and shipping the vaccine.
  • The state expects to have sufficient doses so that all individuals in Phase 1A will have received their first COVID-19 vaccine shot by the end of the month.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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