COVID-19 News and LINKS from Senator Kari Dziedzic

Dear Neighbors and Friends, 

The last two week have been unlike anything we have experienced. It feels like we are living in a snow globe that was shaken and life has been turned upside down.  It is hard to believe that the Governor released a supplemental budget less than 10 days ago – and how much has changed since then.

I started writing this update several times during the last week, but things are changing so fast – this will probably be slightly dated by the time you read it.

Many of you have lost a job or are concerned about your job and your ability to provide for your family.  Having lost a job in an earlier recession – I understand how scary that can be.  Governor Walz issued several Executive Orders to address this pandemic including some changes to unemployment so people can access help quicker than usual.  We understand many people do not qualify for unemployment, like small business owners and many in the creative economy, and are working to resolve that issue.

We are in uncharted territory.  I want to assure everyone that we are collaborating with our local and federal partners to provide relief to people impacted by COVID-19 as quickly as possible.

The legislature passed and the Governor signed bills last week and on Monday providing funds for health care infrastructure to respond to COVID-19.  The Senate and House are working to ensure our healthcare system has the protective gear and capacity to handle the crisis.  We are looking at what changes we need to make in statute vs what the Gov can do by Executive Orders on everything from evictions to Dept of Human Services waivers needed to help people with disabilities.  We are committed to being as prepared as possible for dealing with this disease in a proactive and responsible manner.

You can find links to the Exec Orders and more COVID-19 information below.  

The Governor is listening to public health experts and balancing the needs and rights of individuals across the State and the need to protect the health, safety and welfare of our State.  This is an unprecedented challenge and I appreciate his proactive efforts to get ahead of the curve on COVID-19 to prevent more harm.

The Legislature is not having committee hearings or session on a regular basis at this out of an abundance of caution.  We do not want to risk the health of our staff and the public and add to the spread.  We are looking at what procedures need to be put in place to safely come back and vote on urgent issues related to COVID-19.  As I mentioned above, we are having bipartisan, bicameral discussions on specific issues and hope to have some agreement and public discussion soon.

My Legislative Assistant and I are working remotely. We are constantly checking emails and voice mails prioritizing those dealing urgent requests.  Thank you for your patience.

Minnesotans are used to helping each other out – from shoveling our neighbor’s driveway to volunteering and donating after the Drake fire – we are used to working together to get things done.  So many are doing their part to help us weather this storm. Thanks to everyone who is stepping up and helping lead us during this pandemic.  We will get through this.

More COVID -19 information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Emergency Special Enrollment Period
MNsure is offering a special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance in response to the potential growth of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This SEP will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure. Learn more HERE.

Executive Orders
Gov. Walz has signed several COVID-19 related Executive Orders.  Click HERE to read more.

University of Minnesota
On all campuses of the University of Minnesota, in-person instruction is suspended starting today through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. Read more HERE.

Minneapolis Public School information
Comprehensive information and resources from the Minneapolis School District can be found HERE.

City of Minneapolis information
The City of Minneapolis has information about its response to the COVID-19 virus. Click HERE for updates and details.

Hennepin County information
Hennepin County website, with additional information HERE.

Minnesota Department of Health resources
Additionally, MDH is making information about the coronavirus available in multiple languages. A full list of available languages and links to download materials are available below.
COVID-19 in Amharic (PDF)
COVID-19 in Arabic (PDF)
COVID-19 in Chinese (PDF)
COVID-19 in Hmong (PDF)
COVID-19 in Karen (PDF)
COVID-19 in Russian (PDF)
COVID-19 in Somali (PDF)
COVID-19 in Spanish (PDF)
COVID-19 in Vietnamese (PDF)  

MDH has also set up non-English versions of its coronavirus website. A full list of available languages and links to each page is available below.
Spanish: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/materials/spanish.html 
Somali: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/materials/somali.html 
Hmong: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/materials/hmong.html 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONAL RESOURCES

QUESTIONS about school and childcare:
Call 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504 (7am-7pm daily)
*Childcare providers with questions should call 1-888-234-1268
Visit www.education.mn.gov 

QUESTIONS about health:
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903 (7am-7pm daily)
Visit www.health.state.mn.us 

QUESTIONS for workers and employers:
651-259-7114 or 800-657-3858
https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/

 

Resources:

For some fun non-covid viewing, here is DNR EagleCam.
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/features/webcams/eaglecam/index.html

The Penguins at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago are leading tours while the aquarium is closed.  Visit https://twitter.com/shedd_aquarium for some online fun.

You can also visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. Met 360 has some short videos that allow viewers to visit some iconic spaces at the Gallery.  https://www.metmuseum.org/art/online-features/met-360-project.

They also have lesson plans for educators to integrate learning about works of art into their virtual classroom through curated lesson plans: http://met.org/LessonPlans.

Free Lunch Takeout list can be found HERE.

Sen.kari.dziedzic@senate.mn        651-296-7809

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