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Governor Walz orders health care providers to postpone elective surgeries and procedures

Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 20-09, ordering health care providers to postpone elective surgeries and procedures, including non-emergent elective dental procedures, to focus health care capacity and equipment on responding to COVID-19 cases and other emergencies.

This order complies with guidance issued on March 17, 2020, from the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as similar guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued on March 18, 2020, to delay elective surgeries and procedures, both to conserve health care resources and to reduce contact between patients and providers.

“The greatest risk we face during the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our health care systems and limiting their ability to respond to emerging cases,” said Governor Walz. “This executive order keeps more health care resources open and prioritizes life-saving intervention for COVID-19 patients and other emergency care.”

“We urge Minnesotans to continue staying home if you’re sick and practice social distancing even if you’re not experiencing symptoms,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “But if you do get sick enough to require hospital intervention, we want health care providers to have the resources and space to provide the care you need.”

Elective surgeries and procedure must be postponed indefinitely beginning at 5 p.m.

on March 23. The executive order clarifies that a non-essential surgery or procedure is defined as a surgery or procedure that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient. Surgeries and procedures that prevent loss of life, permanent dysfunction of an organ or extremity, or risk of metastasis or progression of staging for non-COVID-19 patients should not be postponed under this order.

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