COVID-19

Working with Gov. Walz, the Senate passed three phases of COVID-19 response funding:

Phase 1 - $20.9 million to fund the public health response contingency account to get the state prepared for the initial onslaught of coronavirus.

Phase 2 - $200 million dollars to prepare hospitals and care centers for COVID-19, flatten the curve, and save lives. The money was used to purchase personal protection supplies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, renovate rooms into specialty care, or purchase life-saving equipment.

Phase 3 - $347 million in funding to prepare hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and state agencies, and funding to support child care providers, small businesses, college students, and veterans. Included $1.25 million in funding to Second Harvest Food back to support the increasing demands on local food shelves.

In addition to funding, the Senate also passed several bills to help Minnesotans deal with the crisis:

Making sure no one without insurance will be charged for their screening, testing, or treatment.
Allowing the uninsured to use medical assistance for COVID-19 testing and treatment if they need it.
Requiring that first responders, doctors, nurses, and other health care providers are guaranteed workers compensation insurance coverage if they contract the virus while serving others on the job.
Making it easier for small businesses and farmers to invest in their operations with retroactive section 179 tax conformity. (rejected by House and Governor)
Extending tax deadlines for individuals and businesses to give them time to recover before their tax bills are due. (rejected by House and Governor)
Increasing the amount of charitable deductions that can be taken without itemizing to help charities in these tough times. (rejected by House and Governor)


Stay Safe!
The precautions to stay healthy are the same for the flu season and coronavirus, and they can’t be repeated often enough: Wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home if you are sick.
CDC website: www.cdc.gov

The Minnesota Department of Health also has a very helpful website for travelers, schools, and health care workers who want to know more about the virus and what they need to do to prepare. MDH website: www.health.state.mn.us

COVID-19 Hotlines:
Interpreters available
Health questions:
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
Weekdays: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Weekend: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Schools and child care questions:
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504
Weekdays: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Weekend: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This pandemic has taken an incredible toll on our economy and our workforce. I know many businesses in our community are working hard to stay open and keep their employees working. Here are some helpful resources for questions about business grants, unemployment, and more:

Paycheck Protection Program through the Small Business Administration:

Workers and Employers:
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) COVID-19 page:
www.mn.gov/deed

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry’s (DOLI) COVID-19 page: www.dli.mn.gov

Healthcare:
MNsure is clarifying insurance options for those experiencing a change in income or unemployment. www.mnsure.org

Child Care:
Parents and Guardians who need child care resources can call Child Care Aware of Minnesota at 1-888-291-9811 or go to www.parentaware.org

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PAID AND PREPARED FOR BY BENSON FOR SENATE