Minnesota coronavirus update


The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported the first confirmed death of a Minnesota resident due to COVID-19.

                The death of the Ramsey County resident occurred March 19. The person had recently tested positive for COVID-19 and was in their 80s.

                Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said the death underscores the importance of protecting our most vulnerable Minnesotans during the outbreak.

                Commissioner Malcolm emphasized the importance of all Minnesotans doing their part to slow the spread of the virus and protect those in our communities who might be at higher risk of severe illness or death. The most vulnerable include those over 65 and those with underlying health conditions.

                State and local public health have implemented a series of community interventions such as temporary closures of restaurants, bars and schools, recommended social distancing measures such as staying home as much as possible, maintaining a distance of six feet from other people, replacing in-person work meetings with teleworking, and cancelling gatherings of 50 people or more. Also, do not hold events with more than 10 people where the majority of participants are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including gatherings such as those at retirement facilities, assisted living facilities, developmental homes and support groups for people with health conditions.

                Visit Strategies to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota for our recommended community mitigation strategies.

                Since the outbreak started in December 2019, more than 284,000 cases and 11,800 deaths have been reported worldwide. The U.S. reported 19,624 cases and 260 deaths as of Monday, March 23.

Support for Small Businesses

                Governor Tim Walz announced that small businesses in Minnesota are now eligible to apply for disaster assistance through the Small Business Administration (SBA) for economic injury during the COVID-19 pandemic. This announcement comes after Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to the Director of the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance requesting that Minnesota businesses be eligible for this assistance.

                The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing during the pandemic. Small businesses may apply for a loan at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

                On Wednesday, March 18, the state also granted a 30-day Sales and Use Tax grace period for businesses identified in Executive Order 20-04. Identified businesses with a monthly Sales and Use Tax payment due March 20, 2020 will have until April 20 to make that payment. These customers should still file their return by March 20. For more information, visit revenue.state.mn.us.

Access to Health Insurance

                On Friday, March 20, Governor Walz announced there will be a 30-day special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. This SEP, which began Monday, March 23 and runs through April 21, will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure.org.

                Individuals seeking coverage can visit MNsure.org to complete an application and enroll in coverage. Plans selected by April 21 will have a retroactive coverage start date beginning April 1.

                • The MNsure Contact Center is open between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at 651-539-2099 or 855-366-7873.

                A hotline for the public is open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The hotline number is 651-201-3920.

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