The Centers for Disease Control is now recommending Americans wear a mask over their face to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Jan Malcom, director of the Minnesota Department of Health, says there's something to remember. "People who are sick need to stay home and remain isolated," said Malcom. "In no way does this guidance lessen the directive to stay at home if you're sick." Malcom says it's also important to remember that wearing a mask will prevent you from spreading the virus but it does not prevent you from contracting the virus.
Minnesota Veterans are eligible for a total of six-point-two million dollars in grants after recent action by Minnesota lawmakers. Larry Herke is the Minnesota Commissioner of Veterans Affairs. "These funds will be available for eligible veterans and their families who have been financially impacted by COVID-19," said Herke. "We are accepting applications for both disaster relief grants and special needs grants. Applicants must be a veteran or a surviving spouse of a veteran as defined by Minnesota statute." The money was a part of the recent COVID-19 relief bill passed by lawmakers and signed by Governor Walz.
The shutdowns and orders issues by state government in connection to the COVID-19 outbreak are going to have an effect on the economy moving forward. Governor Tim Walz says the potential health and societal ramifications, such as suicides; depression and domestic violence, associated with negative economic downturns are a big part of the conversation. "We're tracking call to our domestic violence centers, we're looking at our childhood protective orders every day and looking at suicides as well," said Walz. Walz says they understand for every action there is another action and they try their best to avoid unintended consequences.
Region Nine Development Commission says they're in a unique position to help businesses and local governments deal with the unique situation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nicole Grienswic-Mickelson is the executive director of Region Nine. "We're trying to help determine where the void is in technical assistance and how we can help fill that gap," said Grienswic-Mickelson. "A lot of our other partners are doing similar things. We're just trying to be the best partner we can to DEED and other folks." Grienswic-Mickelson says their office is closed, but their staff is available by phone, e-mail or other forms of electronic communication.
Over three hundred thousand Minnesotans have filed for unemployment insurance since a variety of businesses were shut down connected to the COVID-19 outbreak. State Senator Nick Frentz of North Mankato says no eligible person should be worried about not getting a check. "The reasonable management of our unemployment fund means there is a billion dollars available for those who have lost their job," said Frentz. Frentz says the state also having a full rainy day fund should help Minnesota manage this current situation as well as they can.
While many in state government are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, other emergencies won't stop. Joe Kelly is the director of the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. "We're not immune from future emergencies and disaster just because we have our hands full with COVID-19," said Kelly. "We need to be ready for anything and I'm confident we will be." Kelly says Friday was a perfect example as part of the state was dealing with winter weather, while other parts of the state are dealing with flooding
There's been a variety of advice from the federal level on whether or not it is good to wear a mask over your face to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Minnesota Department of Health Director Jan Malcom says their advice hasn't changed. "When you wear a mask it doesn't prevent you from contracting COVID-19," said Malcom. "But if you are ill or asymptomatic it will prevent you from spreading the virus." Malcom is asking regular folks to not use medical grade or surgical masks if they choose to wear one "These supplies are in high need and are meant to protect [...]
Governor Walz Concerned That Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota Have Yet To Issue Stay at Home Orders
Three of Minnesota's neighboring states do not have stay at home orders. That concerns Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. "I do worry about that," said Walz. "But I think it's only a matter of time before they do." Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota have yet to issue stay-at-home orders.
An antibody test related to COVID-19 will be released by the Mayo Clinic next week. Doctor Deepi Goyal with the Mayo Clinic says it's a game-changer. "This will detect an immune response in a patient that may have had the virus," said Goyal. "The advantage of that is they can detect antibodies it can identify patients that have may potentially have been exposed and may be immune to subsequent infections of COVID. And I say maybe expose because we don't know for sure how this virus will behave." Goyal says medical professionals will need to learn more about how to use [...]
MnDOT officials say Highway 93 off Highway 169 near Henderson will re-open (Thursday) afternoon. Crews closed the road due to flooding Sunday. MnDOT says crews may need to return for additional work the next few days with daytime closures.