skip to content
Primary navigation


Staying Safe and Informed During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Accurate and accessible information is important to us all

4/3/2020 4:30:37 PM


MNCDHH originally intended to distribute this newsletter last week. However, our plans changed when the Governor went into self-isolation, after learning he was exposed to the virus. This resulted in the daily news briefings being done through phone conferencing instead. There were no more ASL interpreters covering the news briefings or caption stream text. 

To make sure our community continued to be able to access the briefings, MNCDHH tried a variety of solutions. It was a good learning experience and the result is a compilation of different types of videos. To access the videos made from the briefings, along with other videos, visit MNCDHH's YouTube playlist, "COVID-19 Information."

We are sharing this newsletter today for two reasons.

  1. This information is still important. This is a list of where to go to get accessible and accurate information. We want to make sure you have this list. 
  2. MNCDHH is waiting to find out how the media briefings will be done when the Governor finishes his self-isolation.As far as we know, he has thankfully experienced no symptoms of COVID-19.  We have already contacted his office and asked that ASL interpreters and captions are provided during their daily news briefings. We encourage you to do the same. You can contact their office by using their online email form

ASL version

If you are DeafBlind or prefer to watch the video in a slow-paced, high contrast format, watch the DeafBlind friendly ASL version instead.

English version

Many individuals in Minnesota have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The numbers are expected to rise.

Everyone is encouraged to stay home and do social distancing because you can have COVID-19 without having any, or only mild symptoms, and pass it along to others who may become seriously ill. Older people and people with other health issues are the most at risk from COVID-19.

It is very important that we work together and do what we can to slow the spread of the virus. This means that we protect ourselves. Here is how we can do that:

1. Clean your hands often

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

2. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

We must also protect others. For example: Stay home if you are sick unless you need medical treatment. MNCDHH, in partnership with Fairview Hospital, is releasing a separate video about what to do if you need to go to the hospital or clinic.

Where to get reliable and accessible information

Information changes every day and sometimes it changes fast. There is also a lot of wrong information being shared too. Here are some places where you can find reliable information.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)

MDH has a webpage about COVID-19. They also have a hotline you can call through your phone, including videophone, caption phone, and TTY, to ask questions. MDH created a PSA in ASL video. MNCDHH created a DeafBlind friendlier version of the video.


School and child care questions:

651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Health questions:

651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903

7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC has a webpage about COVID-19. They also have a link where you can subscribe to get email updates. They have videos in ASL. Their videos have been captioned so far.

Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan

Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan have been providing regular news conferences. The Governor’s Office has been working hard to make sure their updates are accessible for people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. There are logistical challenges but here are some of the things they are doing:

  • Using a space that allows everyone in the room to practice social distancing
  • Providing an ASL interpreter, including a Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) and qualified Deaf Interpreter (DI)
  • Including CART (captioning)
  • Using multiple platforms including Facebook Live and news channels

There are instances where the streaming is blurry or captioning is not available so there are still kinks to work out.

MNCDHH is pleased that many news organizations are including the ASL interpreter in their news gathering. Please follow your local news station. If they include the ASL interpreters and captions, take the time to thank them and encourage them to continue to do so. If they do not include the ASL interpreters and captions, ask them to do so. MNCDHH has a page for our media partners about accessible media reporting. You can share our page with them.

Other places to get information

As a state entity, MNCDHH cannot endorse information that is not from MDH and the CDC. However, we are aware that there are other organizations sharing accessible information. Both the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and Communication Services for the Deaf (CSD) have a COVID-19 resource page on their organization’s website. The Daily Moth,, Sign1News, and other ASL news reporters are also covering this topic. Check out those resources but also follow the daily updates shared by MDH and CDC.

Watch for scams

COVID-19 is an opportunity for scammers. Please be careful. Only donate to organizations you trust. There are scammers who sell products that “prevent” or “cure” COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands and maintain social distance. There is no cure, only treating the symptoms. Visit the Office of Attorney General Keith Ellison website to learn more.


The Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing thanks:

Our communities for their advocacy and resiliency.

Our legislators, state agencies, and health care providers for their hard work.

Jimmy Beldon Jr. for ASL talent.

Patty McCutcheon for voiceover.

Keystone Interpreting Solutions for film production.

Additional information

The Minnesota Department of Health has since created additional PSAs in ASL with captioning. You can find them on MDH's website, "American Sign Language (ASL) Videos for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Response"

back to top