Governor Tim Walz says he’s asking Minnesotans for a lot of sacrifice to help control the COVID-19 pandemic, but it will be worth it in saved lives and a quicker return to normal. Walz says, “The sustained changes that are coming in our society have not been seen since World War Two, and the state of Minnesota is moving together to make sure first and foremost we protect our citizens, we protect our families and our neighbors, and we think about what the future looks like by making good decisions.” The governor says every person in Minnesota can have the biggest impact on the COVID pandemic by following the rules — the most important being, stay home if you’re sick — whether you know it’s coronavirus or not.
Walz says there’s a shortage of supplies to test for COVID in Minnesota, caused by the federal government’s decision to send resources to areas with larger outbreaks. And Minnesota hospitals and clinics warn there could be shortages of protective equipment for medical staff, plus not enough intensive care beds and ventilators, if too many people come down with COVID all at once.
Closures of restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues have caused a spike in applications for unemployment benefits. DEED Commissioner Steve Grove says his department has processed 50-thousand claims so far this week — 25 times normal. Analysts say 1.2 billion dollars in the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund could be depleted if 300-thousand Minnesotans receive benefits for three months. But Grove says in such cases the federal government has usually stepped in.
Governor Walz says getting through the COVID-19 pandemic will be “a little longer haul” and is asking people to be a little patient and a little kinder when they’re out there, “and we’ll get this done.”