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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Bruce Gordon  651-201-7171
May 26, 2020
SEOC Update #31: Nearly 360 Organizations Receive Emergency Health Care Grants to Help with COVID-19 Response
Minnesota Department of Health Awards $97.6 Million

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) awarded nearly $98 million in emergency health care grants to about 360 provider organizations across the state for preparing for and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health care response grantees included a wide range of health care providers. About half of the funds went to providers for additional staffing costs, with the next largest share of the funds going for supplies, including for personal protection equipment.

Providers can also use the money to establish temporary sites to provide testing or treatment services, expand the number of beds available for COVID-19 treatment, for isolating affected patients or staff, and to support emergency transportation. Grants can also fund temporary information technology systems to support triage, screening and telemedicine.

MDH prioritized assisted living facilities, health care systems, hospitals, emergency medical transport, and clinics during this round of funding.

“The goal is to assist these providers with caring for COVID-19 patients and for preparing for the ongoing rise in cases that we are still seeing and expect to continue to see in the coming days,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

This is the second announcement of COVID-19 emergency grant funding. The first $50 million COVID–19 Short Term Emergency Funding was awarded on April 8 to about 350 provider organizations across the state.

Emergency funds are still available. The application process will remain open until all funds have all been spent.

National Guard tests almost 9,900 people at test sites around Minnesota over the weekend

The Minnesota National Guard tested 9,892 people at six sites over the three-day weekend. The sites were open to provide COVID-19 testing to symptomatic and asymptomatic people.

  • The National Guard tested 150 percent more people than expected – the goal was 6,600.
  • State officials used the National Guard testing sites to address public requests for broader testing availability. Data from these test results will help identify hot-spots of COVID activity throughout the state.
  • Officials will announce in the next few days if testing will be available again this weekend.

State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) supporting testing kit and supply deliveries

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

  • SEOC officials supported the National Guard testing efforts over the weekend. Officials were in constant contact with testing teams. Testing support continued on Tuesday with pickup and delivery of test kits and specimens to facilities and labs across Minnesota.
  • The SEOC is planning on several fronts including food supply and meat production to maintain supplies in the state.
  • The SEOC continues supporting the state hotline, which received 70 calls over the four-day holiday weekend. Employees are answering calls at 651-297-1304 or 800-657-3504. The hotline is currently operating from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

State fire marshal develops guidance for salons, retail establishments and other businesses

It is important for businesses and retailers to maintain proper occupant loads as they work to reopen across Minnesota during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division (SFMD) has created information sheets to help establishments calculate the traditional proper occupant loads as well as occupant loads that are in compliance with Gov. Tim Walz's recent executive order for several types of businesses. The SFMD has also developed guidance on how businesses can safely use partitions in their establishments to limit the spread of COVID-19.

COVID-19 patients in ICU tops 250 for the first time

  • 899 reported deaths — an increase of 18 since May 25. Fifteen of the 18 deaths were people in long-term care facilities.
  • 21,960 lab-confirmed cases in Minnesota — an increase of 652 cases since May 25. 
  • 570 patients are currently hospitalized — an increase of 35 since May 25 — with 258 in intensive care units (ICU). The number of ICU patients is up 10 from May 25. 
  • 15,523 patients have been released from isolation.
  • Learn more about the latest lab-diagnosed cases on the COVID-19 public dashboard.

Schools reporting more than 15.2 million meals served

  • The Minnesota Department of Education has asked districts and charter schools to self-report the daily number of meals they are serving to the school communities and the number of students receiving school-age care.

  • The final count over the eighth week of distance learning, with about 298 school districts and charter schools reporting, is:
    • 1,988,179 meals served
    • 6,491 average school-age students cared for each day
  • The combined total for the first eight weeks of distance learning, with about 320 school districts and charter schools reporting, is:
    • 15,284,519 meals served
    • 6,761 average school-age students cared for each day

Traffic volumes remain below average

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

  • Metro area: Traffic volumes on Monday, May 25 were down 36 percent compared to Monday averages for May (2016-2019).
  • Statewide: Traffic volumes on Monday, May 25 were down 19 percent compared to Monday averages for May (2016-2019).
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