These are truly unprecedented times that can feel overwhelming. It is my hope that you have been able to take advantage of the nice weather and take a walk or just enjoy the fresh air. I certainly hope you’ve been able to stay connected to your family, friends, and neighbors despite the need to be physically apart at this time. It is more important than ever for Minnesotans to reach out to others, particularly people who are elderly or vulnerable. We will get through this together!
As the first week of distance learning comes to an end, I’d like to thank all of the educators and staff who made it possible for Minnesota students to continue their studies. I’d also like to send my best wishes to the students and parents taking on this new challenge.
Unemployment Insurance Update
Many Minnesotans are living with reduced hours or unable to work right now. If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19, I encourage you to look into Unemployment Insurance benefits and apply online at uimn.org.
New applicants are being asked to apply on certain days based on the last digit of their social security number. This will help the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) process record numbers of applications and deliver the benefits workers are depending on as quickly and effectively as possible.
Child Care Grants Now Available
Many child care providers are struggling to stay in business due to the high number of families who have withdrawn their children from care. However, there are approximately 270,000 children under the age of 12 who live in a household of an essential worker and need care during this time. The COVID-19 aid package that we passed last week included funding for emergency grants to help child care providers keep their doors open and continue providing critically-needed care, ensuring that Minnesota’s first line of defense against COVID-19 can stay on the job. Application information is available here.
Governor Walz’s State of the State Address
Governor Walz will give his annual State of the State address this Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. This year, the Governor will address Minnesotans from his residence instead of the Capitol. The speech will be livestreamed on Facebook, YouTube, and local television stations.
Helpful Information and Resources
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is still the best source for accurate, up-to-date information about COVID-19. Their website, www.health.state.mn.us, has information available in Hmong, Spanish, and Somali. Information in several other languages is available in PDF format here. You can also call a public hotline staffed by public health professionals from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903.
This afternoon, Governor Walz unveiled a new COVID-19 dashboard that tracks the spread of the virus and provides the latest data on available ventilators, ICU beds, personal protective equipment, and testing. The dashboard, which will be updated daily, can be found here.
A list of state resources for Minnesotans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic is available here. It includes information about schools and child care, unemployment benefits, loans for small businesses, food and housing assistance, and more. I encourage you to utilize these resources and share them with others.
If you have trouble accessing any of these resources or finding answers to your questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. The best way to get in touch with me is by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-296-9934.