Minnesota governor extends COVID-19 emergency through May 13
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz on Monday extended Minnesota’s state of emergency for 30 more days, giving himself the power to use executive orders to address the COVID-19 public health crisis through May 13.
“Our actions have saved lives, but the threat of COVID-19 remains,” Walz said in a statement. “The next stages of this pandemic are going to challenge us — an extension of Minnesota’s peacetime emergency will allow us to protect Minnesotans’ health and well being, and continue to respond effectively to this rapidly evolving situation.”
Since Walz issued his original order March 13, the governor has used his emergency powers to close schools, bars, restaurants and other places of public accommodation, and ordered Minnesotans to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. He has also used those powers to make it easier for Minnesotans who lost their jobs to collect unemployment insurance.
Walz issued his original declaration on a day when the state had confirmed just 14 cases and was still eight days away from reporting its first death. The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday reported that 29 more people are infected with the coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 1,650. The state reported no new deaths Monday for the first time since March 25; The coronavirus-related death toll stood at 70.
As of Monday, 157 people were hospitalized, including 74 in intensive care. Those numbers were unchanged from Sunday.
Minnesota reported 194 new cases on Sunday. Health officials have said numbers released on Mondays tend to show less change than during the rest of the week because fewer tests are conducted on weekends. They also caution that the state’s total of actual cases is likely much higher because most patients don’t qualify for testing.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The Minnesota Legislature is scheduled to meet Tuesday to pass a COVID-19 relief bill. Among the highlights of the 33-page package released over the weekend are provisions that will: allow engaged couples to obtain marriage licenses online or by mail; make it easier for health care providers to use telemedicine; cover some testing costs; extend various deadlines and expiration dates; and codify temporary rules under which lawmakers can vote remotely and state agencies can exercise emergency powers. Lawmakers will also vote on a long-awaited insulin affordability bill that’s not related to the crisis.
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