Minnesota - COVID-19 Covered

Minnesota

Total Cases: 21,960 (May 27)
Tests Administered: 209,898 (May 25)
Fatalities: 908 (May 27)
Testing:
  • Governor Walz announced Minnesota residents could access free testing at six National Guard Armory locations across Minnesota throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend. (May 22)
  • The state is not reaching its daily testing capacity of 20,000 tests per day. (May 19)
  • Governor Walz signed a bill into law that, “extends the COVID-19 Minnesota fund used to increase testing capacity, ensure there are hospital beds for Minnesotans who need care and purchase much-needed personal protective equipment.” (May 12)
  • The Minnesota Department of Health walked back their previous statement that state and private labs administered 5,223 tests on Tuesday which would exceed Governor Walz’s goal of conducting 5,000 in a day for the first time; actual numbers were more consistent with 3,000-4,000 range that the department’s figures had been showing for the past week. (May 5)
  • Governor Walz announced his administration and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) finalized a lease agreement for an alternate care site in Roseville, Minnesota. (April 29)
  • Governor Walz, the Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota launched a statewide testing strategy to “test all symptomatic people, isolate confirmed cases, and expand public health surveillance tools.” Under the plan, the state will test as many as 20,000 people per day. (April 22)
  • Governor Walz set a goal of conducting 40,000 tests per week before reopening the state’s economy. (April 16)
  • Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota have started offering clinical antibody testing to determine who has recovered from COVID-19; both institutions aim to check the infection status of their caregivers first before checking patients. (April 13)
  • Testing is currently being conducted by the Minnesota state public health lab, the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, and additional private labs. (March 20)
  • Additional information is available through the Minnesota Department of Health website and via phone. The state has made additional information available through a website and via its COVID-19 hotline, at 1-888-535-6136. (March 20)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Governor Walz signed an executive order laying out a roadmap for elective medical surgeries to resume next week. (May 5 
  • Per Governor Walz’s Stay at Home Order, essential sectors include, but are not limited to, the following: health care and public health, law enforcement, public safety, first responders, emergency shelters, congregate living facilities, drop-in centers, childcare, food and agriculture, news media, energy, water and wastewater, and critical manufacturing. (March 25) 

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Minnesota released guidance for employers in the meatpacking industry to reduce worker exposure to COVID-19. (May 26)
  • Governor Walz signed an Executive Order allowing the Public Utilities Commission to “hold remote meetings as necessary.” (May 15)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order extending exemptions for vehicles providing assistance for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. (May 15)
  • Governor Walz signed an Executive Order authorizing “certain out-of-state healthcare professionals to provide aid in Minnesota during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.” (April 25)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order modifying filing requirements for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 22)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order authorizing a 10 percent salary cut for himself, his Chief of Staff, and cabinet agency commissioners for the remainder of the year. (April 15)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order authorizing out-of-state mental health providers to treat Minnesota patients via telehealth services. (April 6)
  • Starting Wednesday, March 25, Minnesota Metro Transit will be reducing its service by 40%, including suspending overnight service. (March 24)
  • Governor Walz has ordered the closure of in-person dining at restaurants and bars, as well as the temporary closure of places of public accommodation and amusement, including theatres, museums, fitness centers, and community clubs. (March 16)
  • Governor Walz issued an executive order ensuring full access to unemployment benefits for those affected by COVID-19. (March 16)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The Minnesota Council of Health Plans announced that Minnesota’s nonprofit health plans are “enhancing support for enrollees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic by extending cost-sharing waivers for in-patient treatment.” (May 20)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order ensuring workers can raise concerns regarding the safety of their work environments by protecting them from “discrimination or retaliation,” including loss of income. (May 14)
  • Minnesota representatives are split by party on how to spend the state’s nearly $2 billion in virus aid. (May 13)
  • CMS approved Minnesota’s second request for a Medicaid 1135 waiver. (May 8)
  • Governor Walz called on the Minnesota Legislature to replenish and extend the Minnesota COVID-19 fund, which currently has $65 million remaining and is set to expire on May 11. (May 8)
  • Governor Walz released a statement on Minnesota’s updated 2020 budget forecast, confirming that COVID-19 “will badly damage Minnesota’s economy.” (May 5)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order banning creditors and debt collectors from automatically intercepting COVID-19 relief funds. (May 4)
  • The Minnesota Senate reportedly approved a relief bill in response to the pandemic that would extend the due date for about $1 billion in state taxes, expand a handful of tax credits, and lower charitable gambling rates. (April 30)
  • Governor Walz signed a COVID-19 Relief Package to will help Minnesotans “afford COVID-19 testing and care, streamline telemedicine, and extend administrative deadlines…” (April 15)
  • Minnesota received $1,093,413,660 from the Coronavirus Relief Fund through the federal CARES Act; the state is expected to receive $2.187 in total. (April 15)
  • Governor Walz extended Minnesota’s state of emergency for 30 days, giving himself the power to use executive orders to address the COVID-19. (April 13)
  • Governor Walz signed a bill to expand workers’ compensation eligibility for emergency first responders and front-line workers by allowing them to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they test positive for COVID-19. (April 8)
  • President Trump approved Minnesota’s disaster declaration, which provides authorization for “funding to support crisis counseling, supplemental nutrition programs, medical assistance, funeral assistance, legal services, and statewide hazard mitigation.” (April 7)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order to provide immediate relief to employers and unemployed workers by streamlining applications for Unemployment Insurance and implementing a federal notification requirement to help Minnesota qualify for additional federal UI funds. (April 6)
  • Governor Walz announced that Minnesota’s COVID-19 response package will include $6.2 Million in COVID-19 Grants for Minnesota Veterans. (April 6)
  • Governor Walz announced Minnesota’s health plans have agreed to waive cost-sharing for the treatment of COVID-19. (April 2)
  • Governor Walz signed a bill (HF4531) allocating $330 million in COVID-19 aid, including support for small businesses, homeless shelters, farmers, food banks, veterans, and emergency childcare grants. (March 28)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order suspending evictions during the state of emergency. (March 23)
  • A special open enrollment for MNsure, the state’s health insurance marketplace has been introduced and will run between March 23 and April 1. (March 21)
  • The income tax deadline has been delayed three months until July 15. (March 21)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order making it easier for workers facing layoffs because of business closures to get unemployment insurance. (March 16)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Minnesota is awarding roughly $9.8 million in emergency childcare grants to more than 1,200 Minnesota childcare providers who are serving children of essential workers. (April 21)
  • Governor Walz announced that the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet is partnering with CUB Foods and its parent company United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) to set up an ordering process for critical supplies for childcare providers. (April 7)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order lifting certain restrictions for truck drivers transporting livestock feed or fertilizer in order to support Minnesota’s agriculture community. (April 3)
  • The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the Minnesota Small Business Loan Guarantee Program, while it can provide capital to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. (March 30)
  • Governor Walz announced six Minnesota Initiative Foundations will launch an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide financial support to licensed childcare providers serving families of essential workers. (March 26)
  • A $300 million coronavirus aid bill passed the Minnesota House, which would include $40 million in emergency grants and loan guarantees for small businesses. (March 26)
  • An executive order signed by Governor Walz authorizes the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to establish a Small Business Emergency Loan program for small businesses affected by COVID-19. (March 23)
  • Minnesota small businesses suffering as a result of coronavirus are eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans provided by the SBA for low-interest federal disaster loans. (March 21)
  • The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has created a “COVID-19 Business Toolkit” to provide businesses guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (March 20)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • Governor Walz outlined the phases of Minnesota’s “Stay Safe Plan,” which would allow limited outdoor dining at restaurants and bars, and 25% occupancy at barbershops and Salons starting June 1, 2020. An outline of the plan can be found here. (May 20)
  • Governor Walz announced the state would now allow gatherings of 10 people or less and allow “single shops” to open. (May 18)
  • Governor Walz directed all state and federal buildings flags in Minnesota to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on the 19th of every month of 2020, starting Tuesday, May 19th, to “remember, mourn, and honor lives lost due to COVID-19.” (May 15)
  • Governor Walz announced the next phase of the COVID-19 response, which includes replacing the current stay at home order on May 18 with an order “continuing to encourage Minnesotans to stay close to home but allowing for gatherings of friends and family of 10 people or less” as well as opening retail stores if they “have a social distancing plan and operate at 50 percent occupancy.” (May 13)
  • Governor Walz unveiled a five-point plan to provide more support to long-term care (LTC) facilities, including expanding testing for residents and workers, providing testing support and troubleshooting, getting facilities needed personal protective equipment, ensuring adequate staffing levels, and leveraging partnerships. (May 7)
  • Governor Walz extended his Stay at Home order until May 18, however, retail businesses can begin offering curbside pickup on May 4. (April 30)
  • Governor Walz announced his decision to allow certain non-critical businesses to safely return to work allowing up to 100,000 Minnesotans to return to work in industrial, manufacturing, and office settings on Monday, April 27. (April 23)
  • Governor Walz lifts a portion of his stay-at-home order to allow certain outdoor recreational activities and certain facilities and businesses to reopen, such as “bait shops for live bait, outdoor shooting ranges and game farms, public and private parks and trails, golf courses and driving range.” (April 17)
  • Governor Walz extended Minnesota’s stay-at-home order until May 4. (April 8)

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Officials announced the Minnesota State Fair would be canceled due to COVID-19. (May 22)
  • Minnesota’s Department of Health released new prediction models regarding daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in order to predict how different social distancing measures might affect the timing and number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. (May 13)
  • The Minnesota Department of Resources is temporarily banning camping and lodging at the state’s nature parks, forests, and recreation areas. (March 29)

Delivery Services:

  • Governor Walz extended an executive order extending exemptions, such as limits on weight and hours of service, for vehicles and drivers providing assistance for COVID-19 emergency relief efforts. (May 21)
  • Governor Walz signed an executive order to permit food trucks to operate at up to six highway rest stops in Minnesota to help truck drivers better support the food supply chain. (May 5)
  • Governor Walz extended the closure of bars and restaurants until May 1, while still allowing for delivery and carry-out services. (March 25)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Walz announced that distance learning will continue through the rest of the 2019-2020 school calendar year. (April 23)
  • Governor Walz authorized the Commission of Education to implement a Distance Learning Period for Minnesota students beginning March 30 through May 4. (March 25)

State Higher Education:

  • Governor Walz signed an executive order allowing students in critical care sectors (such as health care) to attend classes for needed in-person training or testing in order to graduate. (May 11 
  • The Minnesota Department of Education and the Office of Higher Education essentially banned large-scale high school and college graduation ceremonies for the class of 2020. (May 8 
  • The University of Minnesota announced that all summer classes will be online only due to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak. (April 7 
  • The University of Minnesota has canceled all in-person classes and has transitioned to online learning. (March 12) 
  • In-person spring commencement has been suspended at all Minnesota State colleges and universities. (March 18) 

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com