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NEWS RELEASE

Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
CONTACT:
Bruce Gordon  651-201-7171
bruce.gordon@state.mn.us
 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 06, 2020
SEOC Update #30: Focus in State Emergency Operations Center Remains on Coordination, Support and Providing Critical Services

ST. PAUL — Staff working in the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) responding to the COVID-19 crisis continue coordinating donations, supporting meat processing plants, and helping state agencies as they work to continue providing services to Minnesotans affected by the pandemic.

“This pandemic effects nearly every aspect of our lives in Minnesota,” said Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Joe Kelly. “That’s why it’s important that the SEOC remains poised to be a source of support for state agencies as they continue to develop important recommendations and guidelines that shape our everyday activities.”

Critical care supply donations: new online survey

Minnesotans interested in donating personal protective equipment (PPE) or other critical care supplies can fill out this donation survey and someone will reach out with more instructions or assistance. This is a perfect way for individuals and businesses to donate locally. Offers will be forwarded to county emergency managers, who will then contact the donors. Donations of more than 500 pieces can currently be delivered to the Salvation Army at one of four locations across the state listed here.

SEOC teaming up with MDH to assist producers and processors

The SEOC remains fully activated and staffed either physically or virtually by all state agencies and several volunteer organizations.

  • Regional staff from the SEOC are working with pork producers and meat processing plants on issues they face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff are assisting with depopulation efforts and plans to reopen a processing plant.
  • The SEOC, Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and FEMA are working to obtain testing supplies to help the state’s effort to increase testing and meet the testing demand.
  • The SEOC continues supporting the state hotline, which received 46 calls on May 5. Employees are answering calls at 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504. The hotline operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

State Veterans Cemeteries to hold virtual Memorial Day program

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) will hold a virtual Memorial Day program this year in place of live events at the three State Veterans Cemeteries where past years drew thousands of visitors. MDVA is partnering with Twin Cities PBS-TPT to create a 30-minute Memorial Day program that will be broadcast across the state on TPT’s Minnesota Channel at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 25. The program will also be available to stream from both the TPT and MDVA websites. The program will include remarks from Gov. Tim Walz and MDVA Commissioner Larry Herke, personal stories about those we have lost and honor on Memorial Day, music, and a rifle salute traditionally included in a live event.

DNR urges anglers to fish close to home this fishing opener

The COVID-19 pandemic requires that Minnesotans approach the fishing opener differently this year, which means fishing close to home. To help anglers and other people engaging in outdoor recreation determine what “close to home” means in the context of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), developed additional guidelines. Following these guidelines will minimize potential opportunities for transmission:

  • No overnight stays.
  • Bring all needed supplies with you.
  • Only go as far as you can travel and return on a single tank of gas or single charge for EV drivers
  • Maintain appropriate social distancing by staying at least 6 feet from people from other households. This is essential at boat launches, shore fishing areas, and fishing piers.
  • Anglers planning to fish on the water also should only boat with those in their immediate household and maintain a minimum six-foot distance from other boats at all times. Beaching or rafting with other boats is not allowed.
  • When launching or loading a boat, boaters should give those ahead plenty of time and space to finish launching or loading before approaching.
  • To avoid crowding at license agents, the DNR is encouraging anglers to buy their fishing licenses early, and consider buying online and then saving that license on your phone. Licenses are available online.

State Patrol reminds Minnesotans taking part in fishing opener to follow the rules of the road

As the Minnesota fishing opener approaches, the Minnesota State Patrol joins the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in encouraging anglers to fish close to home. By staying close to home, anglers can help limit the spread of COVID-19, and decrease the potential for added strain on local communities and health care systems.

  • The Minnesota State Patrol is increasing traffic enforcement this weekend along interstates and highways leading to popular fishing areas.
  • During the 2019 fishing opener (Friday 6 p.m.–Monday 6 a.m.), law enforcement made 330 DWI arrests.
  • Whether you’re planning to consume one or several alcoholic drinks on the lake, always plan on having a designated driver. Failing to drive smart, even just one time, can lead to a lifetime of regret.
  • During the 2019 fishing opener weekend, six people were killed on Minnesota roads and 21 people were seriously injured.
  • Whether it’s towing a boat or hauling fishing gear in the back of your vehicle, securing your load can be a difference between life and death on the road.

Mental health services available for deaf, hard of hearing children, teens

Being isolated from families, communities and peers can be particularly challenging for children and teens. Mental health care professionals provide resources and tools for children and teens to cope with challenges in healthy ways. Many deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing children and teens benefit from a mental health care professional who is familiar with their unique communications needs. The Minnesota Department of Human Services’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division provides referrals to mental health providers across the state that specialize in deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing children’s mental health. Find mental health providers specializing providing services to deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing children on the DHS website or contact the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division for a referral.

  • Phone (voice or preferred relay service): 800-657-3663
  • Videophone: 651-964-1514

COVID-19 testing glitch resolved

Of the 4,957 COVID-19 tests reported processed May 5 about 2,000 were from the day prior. MDH experienced a technical glitch with the data interface used for labs reporting testing volumes. The issue has been resolved but Monday’s tests are now recorded in the system as Tuesday tests. There were 2,957 tests processed May 5 and 3,837 tests on May 4.

30 additional COVID-19 deaths a new daily high

  • 485 reported deaths — an increase of 30 since May 5; 24 of the 30 deaths were people in long-term care facilities.
  • 8,579 lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota — an increase of 728 cases since May 5. 
  • 443 patients are currently hospitalized with 180 in intensive care units (ICU). The number of ICU patients is down two from May 5. 
  • 5,005 patients have been released from isolation.
  • A reminder that the MDH hotline is operating seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The number is 800-657-3903.
  • Learn more about the latest lab-diagnosed cases on the COVID-19 public dashboard.

Traffic volumes remain below 2019 averages

The Minnesota Department of Transportation continues to monitor traffic volumes statewide.

  • Metro area: Traffic volumes on Tuesday, May 5 were down 35 percent compared to Tuesday averages for May 2019.
  • Statewide: Traffic volumes on Tuesday, May 5 were down 29 percent compared to Tuesday averages for May 2019.
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