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COVID-19 Updates

Updates on the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic response in Minnesota.

Latest Updates

Cases:

Updated on Sept. 29th, 2020, per the Minnesota Department of Health. Please note that not all cases of COVID-19 are tested, so the numbers below are not representative of the total number of people in MN who have or have had COVID-19. 

  • Total Positive Cases: 98,447 (17% of the cases are people of African heritage)
  • Patients who no longer need to be isolated: 88,380
  • Deaths: 2,020 (10% of the deaths are people of African heritage)
    • Counties with over 3,000 confirmed cases:  Anoka (5,213), Dakota (6,655), Hennepin (24,398), Ramsey (9,899), Stearns (3,505) and Washington (3,335)

Further statistics on on the number of COVID-19 cases in each county and the number of critical care supplies that the state currently has stocked piled can be viewed on the Governor's COVID-19 website by clicking here  . For statistics on how COVID-19 is affecting the African heritage community specifically, you can view the MN Dept. of Health's website by clicking here 

Testing in MN Prisons:

The Department of Corrections has started to test for and track cases of COVID-19 in prisons. As of Sept. 29th, 42,100 (100%) inmates have been tested and 601 were confirmed positive and 41 are still recovering. The majority of the positive cases were found in Faribault, Moose Lake, Willow River and St. Cloud prisons with a few in the Lino Lakes prison facility. 61 staff members have also tested positive for COVID-19. To view the full listing of cases, latest updates, visitation protocol and track the precautions that each facility is taking click here Updates for inmate families can be viewed by clicking here

Feeling Sick:  The Governor has updated a portion of his COVID-19 website to help community members to know when they should get tested by answering a quick questionnaire. This section also enables community members to submit feedback and complaints regarding their COVID-19 testing experience and locate their nearest testing site. You can visit this section of his website by clicking here  There is a new state website that helps community members to find testing locations and track their results. To visit this new website click here  

Drive-up Testing:  Northpoint is now offering drive-up COVID-19 testing by appointment only. You must have one or more of the following symptoms to be tested: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, diarrhea or loss of taste of smell. Drive-up appointments must be in a vehicle. Everyone in the vehicle that would like to be tested must have an appointment. Call 612-543-2500 to schedule your appointment today. 


Governor Walz Executive Orders:

Stay up to date with Governor Tim Walz's latest press releases, statements, and Executive Orders concerning the COVID-19 pandemic by clicking hereMasks are now required at all indoor establishments. Exceptions will be made for children under the age of 5 years old and those with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask. School districts have the choice of doing in-person, hybrid or distance learning for the new school year. Their choice is determined by the number of new COVID-19 cases in their county over a 14 day period. Not matter the school district, parents have the option to request distance learning for their child and schools must comply. The Governor's press conference on his school year plan can be viewed by clicking hereRestaurants may open for inside and outside starting on June 10th, with no more than 50 people and reservations will need to be required. Salons will be allowed to reopen after June 1st, granted employees and customers wear masks and salons are at 25% capacity. Social, civic, community and faith-based gatherings are prohibited for groups over 10 people. Fitness studios and gyms will be able to resume services after June 10th and pools across the state will be open during that time as well.  People are still asked to stay close to home as much as possible and limit travel. School's will remain closed until the end of the school year and will continue to do distance learningStarting May 27, places of worship may open at 25 percent occupancy if they adhere to social distancing and other public health guidelines to keep congregants safe. According to the Executive Order, places of worship, funeral homes, and other venues that offer gathering space for weddings, funerals, and planned services such as worship, rituals, prayer meetings, scripture studies, may host such services with over 10 people, provided that they adhere to the below requirements

 

 

 

  • In all settings, ensure a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between households.
  • In indoor settings, occupancy must not exceed 50 percent of the normal occupant capacity as determined by the fire marshal, with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space.
  • In outdoor settings, gatherings must not exceed 250 individuals. 

 

Small Business Help:

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 by clicking here.

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, click here

The African American Leadership Forum (AALF) has created a survey to gauge the impact of the pandemic on minority small businesses, their survey can be accessed by clicking here  

The Dept. of Economic and Employment Development (DEED), Deputy Commissioner Warfa, is hosting community calls on varies topics including small business assistance and unemployment insurance benefits every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4:00 pm. Questions can be submitted beforehand by clicking here 

The dial in number is 415-655-0003 and the code is 969-724-973


Health Insurance Help:

The 30-day special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance has ended.

·       MNsure has a statewide network of professional assistants who can help Minnesotans apply and enroll, free of charge. You can find one near you by clicking here

·       MNsure's online help tools can be used to access frequently requested services by clicking here 

·       The MNsure Contact Center is open between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday at 651-539-2099 or 855-366-7873.

 

Unemployment Insurance Help:

The Minnesota Department of Unemployment Insurance has transformed their website and response times to adapt to the influx of people applying for unemployment. Information provided includes applying for unemployment benefits, information on what happens after you apply and a Q & A about business hour reductions and layoffs. One of the Governor’s Executive Orders waives fees for employers, so that unemployment checks can be sent out sooner. For more information on unemployment and to apply click here.

Self-Employed people and Independent Contractors are able to gain access to benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. It specifically provides benefits to people who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, such as those that are self-employed, independent contractors, workers in non-covered employment, people who lack sufficient work history to get regular unemployment benefits and people living in a household where the head of household has died as a result of COVID-19. This is a new program and payments just started being issued on April 24th. For more information on this new program click here.

CareerForce is hosting online Job Fairs and offering resume creation help. Click here for a full listing of dates and times for their upcoming events. 

The Dept. of Economic and Employment Development (DEED), Deputy Commissioner Warfa, is hosting community calls on varies topics including small business assistance and unemployment insurance benefits every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4:00 pm. Questions can be submitted beforehand by clicking here The dial in number is 415-655-0003 and the code is 969-724-973

 

Energy Assistance Program (EAP):

Quick Facts:

·       Renters & homeowners are eligible.

·       Assets such as the home are not considered in determining eligibility.

·       Grants range from $200 to $1,400, based on household size, income, and fuel cost.

·       The average grant is about $500.

·       In addition to the initial grant, additional Crisis funds are available to:

·       Help pay a past due bill or get an emergency fuel delivery.

·       Help homeowners get their broken furnace repaired or replaced.

·       The application deadline is extended to July 1.

·       The annual Crisis maximum is increased to $1,200 (up from $600).

·       Income eligibility is based on past one month

How to apply:

·       Households contact their local EAP service provider to apply for EAP.

·       Households find their EAP provider:

o   By calling 1-800-657-3710 & entering their zip code, or by clicking here

 

General  information on EAP can be found by clicking here  

Food Assistance:

If you need any of the following services, click here

·       Apply for food assistance

·       Contact a county or tribal human service agency

·       Authorize a representative to shop on their behalf (if they already participate in SNAP)

·       Have groceries delivered to their homes

·       Find additional resources for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and veterans

Travel:

Currently the US border to Canada is closed and part of the US Mexico border are closed. Incoming flights from China, Iran and Europe of non-US citizens are prohibited from entry to the US. Hawaii is requiring all in-bound travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. If you are traveling from an area in the US that has community spread (spread from human to human that is not travel related), it is best to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date that you left said area. For more travel information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website by clicking here


Housing:

The Governor's Exec. Order 20-14 has suspended evictions and Writs of Recovery until the end of the COVID-19 Peacetime Emergency which was recently extended, to May 24th. For a list of Frequently asked questions about this in English click here, for the list in Somali click here

 

 

 

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