Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | August 20, 2020
Tomorrow, August 21, is the final day to apply for Ramsey County’s second round Small Business Relief Fund. If you are self-employed/sole proprietor, or a small business with 20 employees or fewer, please see info below and apply.
 
On Monday I shared this article about the USPS, written by Nick Harper, a political lawyer, lobbyist and nonprofit program director. Sorry the link was broken, so I am sharing again. Really worth a read. More information here on the Postmaster General testifying before the Senate tomorrow.
 
News on the We  St. Paul/Midway fund: It was reported last week over $200,000 has been distributed! Our work continues…

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUNDS
 
Ramsey County: Ramsey County Small Business Relief Fund ($7M): Round 2 extended through August 21, targeting self employed/sole proprietors, and small businesses with 20 employees or fewer. Click here for more information and to apply.
 
The application for We  St. Paul/Midway fund remains live. Please apply, and share with any businesses you know were impacted by the civil unrest: See Application gudelines and application here.
 
East Side Area Business Association (ESABA) has opened an assistance fund. East Side Business Assistance Fund – Donate or Request Help!
 
 
SBA continues to offer disaster assistance (low interest disaster loans) to businesses and residents of MN affected by civil unrest.

 
#BusinessDoingGood
 
 
  • Minnesota law firms changing pro bono work after George Floyd's death From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 18: Twin Cities firms such as Dorsey & Whitney, Fish & Richardson, Ballard Spahr and Fredrikson & Byron are stepping up efforts or starting new ones to represent, free of charge, those who say they are victims of police violence or partnering with unions and community groups to challenge racial disparities in police arrests, housing, hiring and voting access.

#BackToBusiness
 
Wednesday, August 19, Administrative Updates: Commissioner Malcolm
  • Median age remains at 36.0 yo. 
  • 7-day average positivity rate is 4.9%, down from 5.2% last week. As a reminder, state targets keeping this number under 15%, with an “immediate warning” risk level of over 5%. Our lowest was 3% in mid-June, highest was over 15% in late April. 
  • Growth rate in total testing volume is 8.3%, continues to outpace growth of new cases which is now 6.9% week to week.
  • Hospitalization numbers bumped up, part of that continuing “wave pattern.” 
  • Of the 17 deaths on Tuesday, 9 of them were in long term care facilities. This number is the highest single day total since June 19.
  • Testing data: on MDH website you see significant backlog of tests now loaded into system, just over 25K. Vast majority are negative results. Go back as far as April.
  • Along with the MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division Director Kris Ehresmann and Dr. Ruth Lynfield, Malcolm also discussed college students returning to schools and how they can do their part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They said students should stay home and avoid bars and house parties for at least two weeks before returning to their respective universities: "lay low before you go."
  • MDH has heard some reports of kids not getting tested due to a claim that numbers are skewed. Health officials urged those who have symptoms to please get tested and stay home.
  • Regarding the recent spike in deaths, Malcolm said time will tell if "blips" in data could contribute to that, in connection with the recent backlog for MDH.
  • It is not recommended for college or K-12 students to get tested if they are not showing symptoms before school resumes.
 
  • Mask distribution: still need masks? Contact a chamber near you; most of us have a limited number still available. Coordination for on-site pick-up at SPACC is through staci@saintpaulchamber.com
 
  • Midway United board is ousted by new members, leaving fate of $800K in donations in question From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 19: Months after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a community fund connected to the Allianz Field soccer stadium in St. Paul’s Midway has surpassed $800,000, flush with donations from well-meaning residents and business leaders. But few of the 7,000 individual and corporate donations collected since Floyd’s killing have actually made it into the hands of business owners impacted by the ensuing riots and arson.
 
  • No extra $400 unemployment checks in Minnesota from Trump’s executive order, for now From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 19: Unemployed Minnesotans won’t be getting the extra $400 weekly benefit that President Donald Trump recently promised, at least not yet. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which administers the state’s unemployment compensation program, plans to apply for the federal benefit money, a spokesperson for the agency said. But first, DEED wants some answers from Washington about how to deliver the bonus checks.
 
  • SBA riot-recovery loan are great, unless you’re undocumented From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, August 19: Many Twin Cities business owners likely let out a sigh of relief when the Small Business Administration announced Aug. 4 it would provide low-interest loans to Minnesotan entrepreneurs whose property was damaged during the riots. Undocumented entrepreneurs might’ve sighed too — not out of relief — but out of despair. They will not be eligible for any SBA loans — “it’s per the law,” SBA Regional Communication Director Andrea Roebker told the Business Journal.

  • The Minneapolis Fed Sheds Its Reserve From Twin Cities Business, August 17: Building on his research platform, CEO Neel Kashkari wades into controversial policy waters by engaging with citizens on the coronavirus, education, and racial injustice.
 
  • Minnesota senior homes struggle with virus testing backlog, delays From the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 14: Testing supplies have not kept up with surging demand, putting greater pressure on an already stretched system. (B’s comment: As a side note, Access Genetics, located in Eden Prairie, MN, still has a very significant capacity for testing. Most probably in excess of 1000 additional test/day. Further, they have maintained a turn around time of less than 24 hours. “We are keen to help any way we can,: says Ron McGlennen, MD, President and Medical Director. Reach out at rcmcglennen@access-genetics.com


Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 67,308
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 8/10): 4.9% (increase from last week)
Confirmed cases in U.S.: over 5.5M
Confirmed cases globally: over 22.4M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 6,019 (representing 8.9% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 309 (up from 286 on 8/17)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 60,605
#s tested: 1,322,220
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,745 (1,280/74.7% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S.: over 173K
Total deaths globally: over 789K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 21,050 (860 deaths)
Ramsey County: 8,132 (280 deaths)
Dakota County: 5,048 (108 deaths)
Washington County: 2,478 (51 deaths) 

 
Resources
 
Visit our events page for webinars and events and the Ramsey County Means Business page for information to help businesses navigate resources during this pandemic. If you need more personalized assistance, contact our Rapid Response Team to assist you in finding an answer. 
 
Be safe and be well,

B

B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce