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Update from Representative Ben Lien

  • 19 Nov 2020
  • 8:00 AM
  • 22 Nov 2020
  • 11:30 PM


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Gov. Walz addressed the state tonight regarding the COVID-19 situation in Minnesota, and a four-week pause on certain activities beginning on Friday, November 20 at 11:59 pm. Minnesota recorded 100,000 cases over the first 29 weeks of the pandemic. Another 100,000 cases were recorded in six weeks, and an additional 100,000 cases are projected over the next three weeks. As of October 17, the 7-day growth rate in positive cases was 10.7%. On November 8, that growth rate was 75.5%. 76 of 1,124 Critical Care beds in Eastern Minnesota are available, while all regions in the state are trending toward full capacity. All these numbers point to a health care system soon to be overloaded. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that front-line workers are getting sick or quarantining because of community spread, and COVID-19 patients require more acute and intensive care. National Guard members have received training to step in as triage workers in long-term care facilities. Community spread is also taxing our schools and first responders through teacher, care giver, and fire and law enforcement department infections.

Over the last eight months we’ve learned a lot about the coronavirus. We’ve learned that most infections occur in social settings, large and small, where people are gathering close together for prolonged periods of time. We’ve learned that masks reduce the spread of the virus. We’ve learned that outdoor settings cause less spread than indoor settings, although even outdoor settings can spread the virus when people are close together for long periods of time. We’ve learned that quick, socially distanced trips in retail spaces result in fewer infections. It’s for these reasons that this four-week pause will target places and settings where people congregate for long periods of time:

*social gatherings with other households

*in-person dining

*adult and youth sports, fitness centers and gyms, and activities that bring people together for prolonged periods of time

*bowling alleys, bingo halls, and theaters

*receptions and private parties

*large outdoor events and entertainment

This four-week pause will not impact:

*the current Safe Learning plans of local school districts

*childcare facilities

*groceries and retail

*restaurant and bar food take-out

*places of worship where people are practicing social distancing and using appropriate PPE

*salons and barber shops where people are practicing social distancing and using appropriate PPE

*outside activities and exercise with people in your own household

This is all very difficult and requires sacrifice from everyone. I know some are going to sacrifice a lot more than others, and we need a robust plan from the federal government to help small businesses and family budgets. This is very painful especially with the holidays approaching. The efforts we’ve put in all year have largely kept rampant spread of COVID-19 at bay in Minnesota until now. I thank Minnesotans for their sacrifice and hard work. Unfortunately, the virus is demanding more from us right now. Gov. Walz ended his address tonight with a bright spot that there’s a probability a vaccine will begin to become available for front-line workers and long-term care facilities before this four-week period is over. Lastly, I want to thank all of the heroic front-line workers, first responders, medical workers, police officers, fire departments, teachers, and everyone who has answered the incredibly difficult call all year to serve us. To read Gov. Walz’s latest executive order, and watch his address tonight, please go to https://mn.gov/.../EO%2020-99%20Final%20%28002%29_tcm1055... and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9FX4bU9CpQ

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