MN Government Updates 12.09

Walz Calls Special Session of the Legislature for December 14

Governor Tim Walz today announced that he will convene a special session of the Minnesota Legislature beginning on Monday, December 14, 2020. The governor hopes to provide relief to small businesses, workers, and families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Walz intends to extend the COVID-19 peacetime emergency by 30 days to ensure that the state can continue to quickly respond to the pandemic.

“Minnesota’s small businesses and workers are bearing a large burden of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to protect their entire community amid restrictions that are saving lives,” said Governor Walz. “I call upon our state legislature to come together and ensure our businesses stay afloat, our workers are supported, and our families can put food on the table.”

On November 23, Governor Walz sent a letter to legislative leaders emphasizing the need for immediate action to provide relief to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and on November 24, Governor Walz outlined the specifics of his COVID-19 economic relief package, focused on providing direct aid to small businesses, supporting workers, and helping Minnesota families keep food on the table.

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 the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm reported 4,539 new cases of COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 363,719.
  • Just under 40,000 COVID-19 tests were processed yesterday.
  • An additional 82 Minnesotans have died due to COVID-19. This brings the state’s total number of COVID-19 deaths to 4,109.
  • The seven-day COVID-19 test positivity average is 13%.
  • Commissioner Malcolm reiterated that the COVID-19 vaccines set to be approved by the FDA are safe and effective. While state officials will encourage people to get vaccinated, there is no mandate to do so.
  • The federal government will be covering the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Provider organizations administering the vaccine can charge for a clinic visit or administration fee that can be covered by insurers or through health service relief funds for those without coverage.

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

  • When asked how many people are in the Phase 1A group for COVID-19 vaccination, Director Ehresmann responded that there are about 500,000 people in Minnesota who fall under that category – including 163,000 hospital staff and 130,000 long-term care staff.
  • When asked for clarity around the Phase 1B and Phase 1C categories for vaccination, Director Ehresmann responded that the specific guidelines on prioritization within those groups won’t come until after the FDA formally approves the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine is set for approval by the FDA tomorrow, December 10, and the Moderna vaccine is set for approval on December 17.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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