The major news of the week is all about COVID-19. News changes nearly as fast as we can provide updates. But here’s a quick update on what we do know, what the legislature is doing, and what all Minnesotans can do to protect themselves, their neighbors, and their community.
As we continue to face challenges, the legislature’s responsibility is to ensure Minnesota is prepared to respond. We are taking thoughtful action to address this issue. Public health officials in Minnesota are working around the clock to prepare for and stop the spread of COVID-19.
This week, Governor Tim Walz signed legislation that authorizes funding for our public health response to COVID-19. I’m proud that the legislature moved quickly and in a bipartisan fashion to provide the Minnesota Department of Health with additional resources.
On March 11, my colleagues announced a package of legislation to further address COVID-19. The bills would:
- Require health plans to cover all costs of testing, treatment, and quarantine related to COVID-19.
- Ban price gouging of necessary goods and services during an emergency.
- Compensate hourly school workers for days canceled or missed due to COVID-19.
- Temporarily expand the Governor’s authority to declare public health emergencies as possible peacetime emergencies.
- Establish a loan account for health care providers that are overloaded.
- Expand unemployment insurance and sick leave benefits during times of emergency.
Minnesotans are encouraged to thoroughly and frequently wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when they are sick, practice social distancing by staying away from large gatherings whenever possible, and to stay informed. The MDH website (www.health.state.mn.us) is a great resource, and a public hotline (651-201-3920) is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.
We encourage Shakopee residents to reach out with questions and concerns – we can work together to ensure Minnesota is prepared to navigate this public health crisis.