Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | June 22, 2020
Greetings and happy Monday. I wish it were happier for all of us in terms of the Legislature’s work on our behalf during the special session. At 6:04am on Saturday, the Minnesota Senate adjourned the special session. No agreement on a bonding bill, tax bill, police reform, allocation of federal CARES Act resources, or recovery measures for small businesses. The St. Paul Pioneer Press article, “‘Train wreck’: Minnesota lawmakers adjourn after failing to agree on major issues,” about sums it up: “none of it.”
The one piece of good news from the special session was the $62.5M Small Business Relief Grants program approved last week. Application window opens this week , and runs through 5pm on July 2. Details and links are below.
This morning Congresswoman McCollum spoke with chamber members, again offering her strong support for – and ongoing work on behalf of – the business community. Last week she walked along University Avenue speaking with business owners, and is working on additional legislation to complement the HEROES Act and offer more investments in infrastructure as additional economic stimulus.
We do have one fun update: i f you’re bummed about not getting your favorite Fair foods with the Minnesota State Fair canceled this year, we do have a bit of good news. State Fair vendors have been popping up at various roadside and business outposts throughout the state, selling everything from mini doughnuts to cheese curds and deep-fried pickles to corn dogs. The  MN Fair Food Finder map  is tracking the whereabouts of various vendors offering fair foods.
SHOUT-OUTS, #BusinessDoingGood
  • Sanneh Foundation: “From Haiti to Minnesota: Sanneh Foundation brings in some of the state’s best soccer players. Soccer is a cornerstone of the Sanneh Foundation’s humanitarian work in Haiti, but it’s mostly means to another end. The St. Paul-based nonprofit uses the sport to help impoverished children eat healthy meals, receive an education and become leaders in a downtrodden area of Port-au-Prince. As they advance in the program, some kids have received opportunities to be foreign-exchange students in the U.S. The coronavirus pandemic has put this summer’s exchange program on hiatus. Read more.
Monday’s Briefing, 2:00pm: MDH Commissioner Malcolm, Director Kris Ehresmann
Moving forward, these updates will be M-W-F
Commissioner Malcolm
  • On CDC call this morning: averaging in the US about 23K new cases/day, and 675 deaths/day. Is a trend upward in general, over prior weeks, with variability between the states.
  • In MN: 33,227 cases (up 308 from prior day) and 430 cases on Fri, 460 on Saturday. Reflected a couple of days of increase from Thursday's cases of 360.
  • Median age is now 40 yo, trending down over time.
  • 1384 deaths. Lowest count of new fatalities reported since April 12.
  • Currently 332 patients in hospital, 156 of those in ICU. 4 fewer than previous day.
  • Testing
  • On Sunday, 8670 total lab tests processed. Decreased from 12,300 on Saturday.
  • Many labs run with reduced crews on Sundays.
  • In MSP, over last couple of weeks, more than 15K people were tested following the mass gatherings. 4 community sites and lots of testing by HP. Positivity rates for those tests was under 2%.
Director Kris Ehresmann
  • CDC just submitted their regular Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which included notes about effects of COVID pandemic on use of ER for life threatening conditions.
  • Through May, have seen reduction in use of ER for non-COVID-related illnesses. Declined 42% when compared with pre-pandemic use.
  • Concerning: when we look at 3 specific life threatening health conditions: heart attack, stroke, hypoglycemic crisis… seeing significant declines in these visits. 23% down for heart attack; 20% for stroke, 10% for hypoglycemic crisis (when compared with 10 weeks prior to onset of pandemic).
  • A short term decline of this magnitude is biologically implausible, especially for heart attacks and strokes. So, this reduction is not due to absence of the illness. Instead, suggests patients could not access care or were avoiding seeking care.
  • If you are experiencing signs/symptoms of these serious illnesses, be sure to seek medical care.
  • Well child and vaccination visits are still strongly encouraged. Be thinking ahead for influenza vaccination: this year will be more important than ever for you to get vaccinated.
Special Session

  • Saturday: House Speaker Hortman, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, and Governor Walz continued to meet throughout the night, but the prospects of reaching a global deal ended in the early morning hours. Almost immediately, the leaders began blaming each other for lack of action on several key priorities. There is now talk of a potential special session before July 4th, but it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next. The Governor’s current emergency powers declaration expires on July 12 and any extension would require the Legislature to be in session. Sen. Gazelka has said he is open to returning for a one-day special session to address the major issues, but not until a global deal is reached.
  • House leadership criticized Sen. Gazelka for “walking away” from negotiations and characterized his offer on police reform as unsubstantial and insufficient. The New York Times reported on the failure to reach agreement on police reform issues, which have thrusted Minnesota into the national spotlight since the death of George Floyd.
  • Senate leadership accused Governor Walz of breaking an agreement on COVID-19 relief funds for local units of government by tying the money to additional $186 million in supplemental budget items. Sen. Gazelka also criticized the House Democrats for rejecting his offer on police reform measures.
  • The Senate DFL Caucus critiqued their Republican colleagues for ending the special session without a deal on major issues like a bonding bill and criminal justice reform.
  • Governor Walz echoed the call to stay in session and said he is willing to negotiate on the extension of his peacetime emergency powers--the issue that triggered this special session--in order to reach agreement on the outstanding issues.
Other Updates:
  • DEED has announced that the Minnesota Small Business Relief Grants Program – which was approved by the Minnesota Legislature last weekend and signed by Governor Tim Walz on Tuesday – will begin accepting applications this week. This program will use a lottery system to provide $10,000 grants to small businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees (and Minnesota-based majority owner), impacted by COVID-19, are eligible. Half of the funding will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, as required by law. Additional requirements include:
  • $18 million for businesses with six or fewer full-time employees
  • $10 million for minority business enterprises
  • $2.5 million for veteran-owned businesses
  • $2.5 million for women-owned businesses
  • $2.5 million for operators of indoor retail and food markets with an ethnic cultural emphasis

  • MN Oks restart of youth sports games From MPR, June 19: State health officials on Friday said youth sports games and scrimmages could resume June 24 or later for outdoor sports and July 1 or later for indoor sports under the Health Department’s recommended guidance.

  • Businesses impacted by coronavirus, riots can receive free services through new program From St. Paul Pioneer Press, June 18: The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s foundation announced a program Thursday that will offer free services for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic and recent civil unrest in the Twin Cities. The Restoration and Recovery Resources program will consist of a “network of expertise, services and volunteer time,” according to a statement from the Minnesota Chamber Foundation. More than 40 Chamber of Commerce member companies have agreed to extend their services to struggling businesses through the program, which includes legal services, construction and business advising among others.

  • CALLING ALL RESIDENTS OF RAMSEY COUNTY: Help Shape Ramsey County's Future Economic Development. What would Ramsey County look like if economic development was truly inclusive and equitable? What ideas do you have to make our county a better place to live, work, play, and visit? Take the Survey and REGISTER | COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT FORUMS, JUNE 22-25, 2020

June 23  Register
June 24  Register
June 25  Register

  • Let's Save Small Businesses! Business4Business MSP Regional Coalition: MSP Counties and Private Sector Leaders Unite to Support Small Businesses recovering from COVID-19 pandemic A broad alliance of Twin Cities counties, chambers of commerce, community development agencies and other partners are building a local support network to help small businesses survive and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges facing our small business community. The Business4Business Minneapolis-Saint Paul (B4B MSP) coalition will connect small businesses with local resources from public agencies and private sector partners, including technical and financial assistance to provide immediate relief. Learn more about B4B MSP and how to support small businesses in our region

COVID-19 update as of 6/22/2020
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 33,227
Confirmed cases in U.S. (as of 6/22): almost $2.3M
Confirmed cases globally (as of 6/22): over 9M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 3,830 (representing 11.5% of total)
#s currently hospitalized: 332 (down from 345 on 6/18)
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 29,065
#s tested: 513,137
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,384 (1,095/79.1% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities)
Total deaths in U.S. (updated 6/22): over 120K
Total deaths globally (updated 6/22): over 469K
Cases in Counties represented:
Hennepin County: 10,920 (747 deaths)
Ramsey County: 4,352 (211 deaths)
Dakota County: 1,941 (83 deaths)
Washington County: 898 (38 deaths) 

  • See available SBA COVID-19 training here.

  • Minnesota Chamber lists several assistance options available for small businesses to combat COVID-19-related challenges. The federal and state governments have passed legislation meant to speed capital to businesses, so they can make payroll and other financial obligations. The Chamber has a detailed summary of available resources in the funding section of the COVID-19 Business Toolkit.

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