Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | July 27, 2020
Today’s intro was written by Shannon Watson, our Director of Public Affairs, and published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Local leaders, local businesses need your help as we recover. Here are some ways . Take the time to follow the link and read it. Many elected leaders and staff in our local governments are looking for ways to assist businesses in our communities — and their hundreds of thousands of employees — recover from the impact of COVID-19. This is a worthy goal, and we thank them ahead of time for their assistance. Here are a few specific ways local government leaders and staff can help.
Mask distribution is underway across the state. In the metro:
  • Ramsey County masks are available today through Wednesday. More than 1/3 of our 600,00 masks are specifically committed to the BIPOC community, and will be provided through intentional outreach. See the complete schedule below and on our Facebook page.
  • RiverCentre, along Kellogg Blvd, 9am-2pm
  • Roseville, at the Oval, north side of bldg., 9am-2pm
  • Maplewood, at Maplewood Mall, SE corner at JC Penney’s entrance, 9am-2pm
  • Northern Ramsey County, at White Bear Area Chamber office, 4751 Hwy 61, White Bear Lake, 9am-4pm
  • Washington County: Woodbury Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Dakota County: Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Hennepin County: Minneapolis Regional Chamber
Don’t forget: The application for We St. Paul/Midway fund is live. Please apply, and share with any businesses you know were impacted by the civil unrest: See Application here.
And one more opportunity: East Side Area Business Association (ESABA) has opened an assistance fund. East Side Business Assistance Fund – Donate or Request Help!
  • Blue Cross says it will cover telehealth testing through 2020, good news for health systems. BCBS also will continue to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 tests and treatment, meaning people won’t be charged because of costs related to the pandemic. 
  • Goff Public is currently offering some of their communications and government relations services at no cost to local nonprofits and advocacy organizations that are working to achieve racial equity within our community. Whether it is advocating for legislation at the state Capitol, developing communications strategies or pitching stories to news outlets – they want to support organizations that are striving for constructive change, building relationships, and sharing resources and perspectives to help educate the community. Go to their website: Organizations that are interested in their pro bono services can fill out a brief online form by August 21.
  • Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks, Sunday 8/2, 9:30pm CST. I’m sure you’ll have nothing else going on; LET’S GO WILD!
General Updates:
Monday Administration Updates: Commissioner Malcolm, Kris Ehresmann
  • 7-day rolling average of positive tests is 4.8% and steady.
  • Re mask wearing and exemptions due to health conditions: there is no list of “acceptable” health conditions that are exempted. Instead, if you know you have a medical condition that is negatively impacted by mask wearing (restricted breathing), that is a satisfactory answer if a business person asks you about why you are not wearing a mask. No further information is require.
  • Questions about Commissioner Malcolm’s advice to the Governor about the plans for school in the Fall: still not able to provide any details. Still tracking the trends before making a decision.
Friday Administration Updates: Commissioner Malcolm, Kris Ehresmann
  • Malcolm: Situation Report
  • World: Above 15.5M cases in the world, 633K deaths
  • Global rebound: new cases up 35% in last month
  • Some resurgence is being seen in countries that previously had been quite successful in managing the pandemic
  • Big growth in global #s is being driven by much larger increases in U.S. Brazil, India
  • Median age continues to drop notably. Now is down to 36 years old, a drop of more than 1.3 years from only one week ago. The median age was 40 just one one month ago.
  • 7-day average positivity rate is 4.7%, down slightly from 4.9 a week prior. Remember, this has a 7-day lag period, so this is as of July 15.
  • 12.7% increase in testing week over week, and 10% in new cases over that same time period.
  • Department of Administration, Commissioner Alice Roberts-Davis
  • Have been successful in acquiring PPE, have expanded PPE four times now. Shipments go out daily across the state.
  • The pressure continues, particularly considering the recent surge in cases.
  • Continuing to supply hospitals, clinics, LTC facilities. Providing source control products like hand sanitizer, infrared thermometers, and cloth masks to daycares, food shelves, and at risk populations. Is intended to be supplemental to health care providers' own supply chains.
  • "Health care facilities are at or above where they need to be for PPE since the beginning of the pandemic."
  • Difficult to secure gloves that meet specifications.
  • N95 respirators are a constant challenge.
  • General overview of the masking plan:
  • Mandatory for indoor business and indoor public spaces
  • Also applies to workers outdoors and who cannot maintain social distancing
  • Commonsense exceptions like working alone, exercising in a gym, or doing physically strenuous work, or you have a mental health condition (basic CDC exemption components)
  • Exemptions for eating and drinking at the restaurant, when you are "with your party."
  • Penalties:
  • Fine up to $1000, petty misdemeanor
  • For businesses: point is to protect businesses from flagrant violators
  • Requests of business:
  • post sign to communicate the mandate to workers and customers
  • update business preparedness plan to include masks
  • Regarding enforcement:
  • don’t want business to be "mask police." 
  • When encountering a customer not wearing a mask, engage in conversation (i.e. due to health reasons?). If being difficult, follow normal process for this. 
  • Not requiring you to deny service.
  • Can't physically engage someone in any way. MAY deny service, but want to limit confrontations. Goal is not enforcement but compliance.
  • Children under 2 shouldn’t wear masks for safety reasons, and children under 5 are exempt in the EO.
The latest on the coronavirus pandemic
  • From CNN World, July 26: What you need to know: American medical experts are urging political leaders to shut down the United States to contain the pandemic after the country surpassed 4 million Covid-19 cases.  North Korea has reported its first suspected case of Covid-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US's top infectious disease expert, said the Center for Disease Control has put out "a sound set of guidelines" on how to reopen schools safely this fall.

  • Minnesota has strong coronavirus testing capacity. How long will it last? From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 26: Minnesota health officials are worried the state’s robust coronavirus testing capacity could be hampered by an increasingly stressed international medical supply chain. Just a few weeks ago, Minnesotans were able to get the results of their coronavirus tests within about 24 hours. But now, the wait can be three days or more, delaying when contact tracers can begin investigating new infections.
  • Florida overtakes New York in coronavirus cases, adds 9,300 From the Associated Press/Star Tribune, July 26: Florida surpassed New York over the weekend as the state with the second-most coronavirus cases in the U.S., as more than 9,300 new cases were reported in the Sunshine State on Sunday, accompanied by an additional 78 new deaths.

  • Mnuchin: Virus aid package soon, $1,200 checks by August From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 25: WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Saturday that Republicans were set to roll out the next COVID-19 aid package Monday and assured there was backing from the White House after he and President Donald Trump’s top aide met to salvage the $1 trillion proposal that had floundered just days before. Mnuchin told reporters at the Capitol that extending an expiring unemployment benefit — but reducing it substantially — was a top priority for Trump. The secretary called the $600 weekly aid “ridiculous” and a disincentive for people to go back to work. He also promised a fresh round of $1,200 stimulus checks would be coming in August.

  • COVID-19 Cases Continue to Surge in States Across the U.S. From NPR, July 25: New daily cases are increasing in 46 states. Among them are California, which reported its highest number of single-day deaths on Thursday. In Indiana there were 934 new cases and 11 deaths on Saturday and Montana reported its highest daily number of cases on Saturday with 224 new cases. Louisiana reported more than 2,000 new cases, 29 deaths and 15 hospitalizations on Friday alone, NOLA reported. In total, there are more than 103,000 cases and 3,600 deaths in the state, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. In response to the increase, Gov. John Bel Edwards extended phase two of the state's reopening for another 28 days.

  • DEED Announces Names of Businesses That Received Small Business Emergency Loans From DEED, July 24: More than 1,000 loans were made over past several months, starting in April. You can see a list of businesses that received a Minnesota Small Business Emergency Loan, as well as a breakout of loans by region and lender, on DEED's website.

  • Economists: Recovery from current recession could take years From The Timberjay, July 23: REGIONAL- Business closures and stay-at-home orders imposed in mid-March to combat the spread of the coronavirus sent the country’s economy reeling into the steepest and shortest economic recession in history, and it’s going to take until 2023 to fully bounce back.

  • Lake Street fund provides $2.8 million to businesses so far, more to come From KSTP, July 23: It’s been nearly two months since riots destroyed businesses along Lake Street in Minneapolis. The cleanup is ongoing, as businesses try to rebuild. The Lake Street Council believes it could take 5 to 10 years for a full recovery. More than $8 million have been donated to the We Love Lake Street Recovery Fund. Grants are now being distributed to 175 businesses.
  • Manage Your Federal Grant Costs During COVID-19 Provided by Clifton Larson Allen, July 17: In response to the pandemic, the OMB has issued a series of memorandums that could affect your grant compliance program. CLA offers resources/assistance.
  • Congress set for messy COVID-10 talks on tight deadline From The Hill, July 26: Senators are bracing for a messy, down-to-the-wire fight over coronavirus relief legislation. Congress returned to Washington last week with an already tight three-week time frame to come together on the next emergency COVID-19 package, all the while navigating significant policy differences and the growing pull of the election. Lawmakers are hoping a looming deadline – the start of a four-week August recess – will drive both sides to the negotiating table and an eleventh-hour agreement.

  • Update from ACCE on Friday, July 24: Congress returned this week, so we are seeing lots of developments around the next big COVID relief package. Ensuring that the next round of stimulus includes support for chambers of commerce has been a top ACCE priority this week. Formal introduction of the Senate bill was delayed, but we’ve heard that the bill includes language to extend Paycheck Protection Program eligibility to chambers with 50 or fewer staffers with a loan cap of $500k. Many hurdles remain, so continue to talk to your congressional delegations.
COVID-19 update as of 7/27/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 51,803
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 7/27): 4.8% (steady last week)
Confirmed cases in U.S.: almost 4.3M
Confirmed cases globally: over 16.3M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 4,961 (representing 9.6% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 257 (down from 282 on 7/23)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 45,198
#s tested: 970,726
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,576 (1,207/76.6% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S.: over 147K
Total deaths globally: over 650K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 16,506 (807 deaths)
Ramsey County: 6,347 (254 deaths)
Dakota County: 3,537 (102 deaths)
Washington County: 1,700 (41 deaths) 

  • See available SBA COVID-19 training here.

Visit our e vents 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 Kyle
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce