New press conference leaves several questions unanswered

Governor Walz had addressed Minnesota at 2 p.m. today, but multiple key issues, such as the fate of schools, weren't addressed.

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Emma Conway

Tim Walz interrupted scheduled programming for another press conference.

At 2:00 p.m. on March 20, Governor Tim Walz opened by saying, “This has been the most disruptive and confusing weeks we have witnessed.” Next, he clarified that 2:00 p.m. would now be used as a daily scheduled time for the state to address and update Minnesotans on evolving situations. 

“This has been the most disruptive and confusing weeks we have witnessed.””

— Tim Walz

Now, there are 115 positive cases of COVID-19 in MN. As long as Minnesotans continue “stepping up to fill the gaps,” Walz believes the state will overcome this pandemic. Examples of those stepping up include schools, businesses (regardless of size), grocery stores, medical personnel, and all 38 YMCA locations across the state who will be open for K-6 students starting on Monday. 

Walz then went on to applaud President Trump’s actions earlier today to take power over industries, ramping up production of needed supplies during current “war time needs.” Yesterday, Walz also signed executive order 20-09 which delays elective surgeries. 

Beyond medical treatment, price gouging is a concern. But an executive order was signed by Walz today which will allow the state to crack down on price gougers. 

Kris Ehremann, Minnesota Department of Health Disease Division Director, then took the mic and honed in on numbers. Globally, there are 246,000 cases and 10,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. In Minnesota, 155 individuals who have tested positive range from 17-94 years of age. Out of those 155, eight are hospitalized, while the rest are recovering at home. As of right now, there are no cases in Goodhue County. However, she maintains counties without confirmed cases aren’t in the clear. Many individuals may have COVID-19 without evening knowing it. She further emphasized, “If you are sick, don’t go to work or to the grocery store.” By doing so, individual(s) are undermining the state’s efforts to flatten the curve. Laboratory testing is still being prioritized for those at highest risk.

If you are sick, don’t go to work or to the grocery store.””

— Kris Ehremann

Joe Kelly, Minnesota’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director, is focused on continuing to provide critical services to state citizens, working with federal partners to support the response and mitigation efforts that are on going, and communicating with tribal communities and public health officials. The state is attempting to buy more medical suppliessuch as ventilators and masksat the moment. Yet it’s been challenging with higher demand than supply. 

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner, Steve Grove, has been devoting his time to the 95,352 applicants who have applied for unemployment over the last week. A majority of those filing are from the hospitality and business industries. He reiterated, “Businesses can consider this as an option during this challenging time.”

Heather Mueller Department of Education Deputy Commissioner highlighted 118,238 meals have been served this week, while 5,190 students (who have parents working in the medical field or as educators) have received child care across the state. Currently, the state is processing a potential federal waiver for statewide or MCA testing, meaning MCA testing may not take place. 

Walz closed by stressing, “Stay home Minnesota.” Although things may appear to be counterintuitive, these plans are in place so the state’s hospitals have sufficient space. 

Several issues weren’t addressed during the press conference such as the future of MN schools.  Yet, unlike other states, for now, Minnesota is not being told to shelter in place