MN Government Updates 05.28

Walz Signs Executive Order Activating National Guard 

Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-64, activating the Minnesota National Guard to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Local leaders have requested National Guard resources after extensive damage to private property occurred and peaceful protests evolved into a dangerous situation for protesters and first responders.

“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect. George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction. As George Floyd’s family has said, ‘Floyd would not want people to get hurt. He lived his life protecting people.’ Let’s come together to rebuild, remember, and seek justice for George Floyd,” said Governor Walz.

“The anger and grief of this moment is unbearable. People deserve to be seen. People deserve to be heard. People deserve to be safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “While many Minnesotans are taking extensive safety precautions while exercising their right to protest, the demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved. The purpose of the National Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”

“As Governor, I will always defend the right to protest,” Governor Walz continued. “It is how we express pain, process tragedy, and create change. That is why I am answering our local leaders’ request for Minnesota National Guard assistance to protect peaceful demonstrators, neighbors, and small businesses in Minnesota.”

The National Guard Adjutant General will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment, and facilities needed to respond to and recover from this emergency.

Additionally, the Minnesota State Patrol will assist in public safety efforts for the next several days. Approximately 200 troopers will work with state, county, and local community and public safety partners. State Patrol helicopters and fixed wind aircraft will also be available to assist law enforcement officers on the ground.

This Executive Order also declares a peacetime emergency, which activates the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to help coordinate the state’s response. As the SEOC is already activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will concurrently support the COVID-19 response and the City of Minneapolis and surrounding communities during this situation.

Department of Health Briefing

This afternoon, officials with the Minnesota Department of Health conducted a press briefing with reporters to update the public on state efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commissioner Jan Malcolm, Department of Health

  • Commissioner Malcolm began the briefing by acknowledging the “tragic events in the community” that have caused pain, anguish, sadness, and anger for many.
  • She said that large gatherings do pose a risk and encouraged people who are gathering to be mindful of the risk and to reduce the risk of spread by social distancing and wearing masks.
  • The state had an additional 493 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 yesterday. This brings the state total to 22,497 cases. This is five days in a row of reducing case counts.
  • There were 35 more deaths. This brings the state total number of deaths to 967 – the highest daily total of deaths for a single day thus far.
  • Currently, 606 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 with 242 in the ICU.
  • Yesterday, 8,766 COVID-19 tests were processed.
  • When asked if the Department of Health is going to require restaurant and bar owners to provide logs of customers to the department for contact tracing purposes, Commissioner Malcolm responded that while it’s in the guidance as the preferred method, restaurants and bars are not required to report the data to the state.
  • When asked if the state will see serious COVID-19 outbreaks based on the crowd demonstrations, the commissioner responded that it’s “certainly going to be factor” and that the gatherings that are expected “would very predictability accelerate the spread” of COVID-19.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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