Situation Report COVID-19 Updates | September 8, 2020
Welcome back after what I hope was a rejuvenating weekend. I had some quality time with two toddlers, and – though now full of pronto pups and waffles – I actually feel energized as we start this new week. 

I continue searching for official notice of an anticipated one-day Special Session this week. Nothing yet, though informal sources are anticipating something for this Friday. I’ll keep you posted. 

Had a great conversation with DEED Commissioner Grove this morning. I continue to be impressed by his thoughtful approach to this work. He knows this is a challenging season for business – that, for some, it’s a challenge of “how” to get through, for others it’s a challenge of “IF” we get through. DEED is looking to begin new conversations about what recovery looks like, around re-skilling, social safety nets, and supporting new business starts (though seemingly counterintuitive, economic upheaval often is the springboard for many new business ventures to begin). 

Among their many priorities, DEED also continues to look specifically at how to support large venues and restaurants. Restaurants are desperate, particularly as the weather turns. And DEED is considering the proposals suggested around increasing inside capacity. That said, I’m not hearing any indications of immediate change, “dialing back” or moving forward.

Which brings me to Saint Paul’s Ready Together pledge: no matter the changes the Governor calls for, ultimately the decisions about where to spend our money and our time are made by individuals. We determine how safe we feel in different environments. Businesses can help assuage concerns by committing to the Ready Together pledge. Over 100 businesses have signed up already.
 

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE FUNDS

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 here.

BizRecycling Relief GrantsAny business that has been negatively impacted by the social unrest or COVID-19 is eligible for funding that can cover various items. The grant application process is extremely easy and can be completed online. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to reach out to Jon Klapperich.


 

#BusinessDoingGood
  • Business people: Ecolab announces donating a collective $5M toward coronavirus-related relief efforts From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sep 6: St. Paul-based Ecolab announced it has donated more than $3 million of cleaning and sanitizing products and more than $2 million in financial support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company worked with nonprofits World Emergency Relief and Global Citizen USA to distribute cleaning and sanitizing products to organizations in countries throughout the world, including Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ghana, Malawi, Mauritius, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Uruguay.

  • Summit Companies Named to Inc. 5000 List Summit Companies, a national leader in comprehensive fire and life safety solutions, today announced it ranks No. 3,417 in the 2020 edition of the Inc. 5000 list, the most prestigious annual ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Being named to the list underscores Summit Companies’ emergence as a national leader in large-scale fire detection and suppression as well as its rapid growth -- aquiring more than 30 companies!

 
 
#BackToBusiness
  • Now on the menu: purified indoor air From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 4: Restaurateur Brent Frederick said he’s confident guests will return to his dining rooms this winter, despite the risks posed by the ongoing pandemic, and he’s investing in technology to help them breathe a little easier when they do. By his estimate, Frederick spent close to $10,000 to upgrade the HVAC systems at all six of the restaurants in his Minneapolis-based Jester Concepts group, adding ionic air purifiers to improve indoor air quality. In a laboratory test, the specific brand of purifier purchased by Frederick was shown to significantly reduce the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
 
 
  • Worker shortage persists amid pandemic From Finance & Commerce, Sep 3: A new survey reveals that construction companies in Minnesota and across the U.S. are still struggling to attract workers for open positions, even as pandemic-induced project delays and cancellations force waves of layoffs and furloughs.



UPDATES FROM THE ADMINISTRATION
  • Thursday, September 3, Governor Walz, Lt. Gov Flanagan, and Commissioner Malcolm
  • 7-day positivity rate remains steady at 5%.
  • The state’s rate of community transmission is over 30% and sustaining that level. 
  • Governor Walz: "As we head into the fall and the long winter ahead, we must double down in our fight to combat the spread of COVID-19," Walz said. "We must all do our part to slow the spread, protect our communities, and keep our businesses open. I know it is hard, but Minnesotans are resilient people. We must dig deep, stay strong, and hold the virus at bay."
  • Lt. Gov Flanagan: “…just because you're over the pandemic, doesn't mean it's over you," 
  • Other metrics involving the worst possible outcomes from COVID-19 are actually looking much better than the spring and early summer. The number of deaths peaked at 696 in May, or about 22 per day. The numbers plummeted to 159 in July (five per day) and 217 in August (seven per day). Hospitalizations peaked at over 600 per day in May, but have averaged below 300 the first three days of September.
 
IN THE NEWS
  • 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.

  • States plan for cuts as Congress deadlocks on more virus aid From 5 Eyewitness News, KSTP.com, September 6: With Congress deadlocked for months on a new coronavirus relief package, many states haven't had the luxury of waiting to see whether more money is on the way. Some that have delayed budget decisions are growing frustrated by the uncertainty. As the U.S. Senate returns to session Tuesday, some governors and state lawmakers are again urging action on proposals that could provide hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states and local governments.

 
  • Minnesota National Guard clarifies scope of outbreak among Iowa soldiers at Camp Ripley From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sep 7: A Minnesota National Guard officer says he misstated the scope of a COVID-19 outbreak among a group of Iowa National Guard members who were training at Camp Ripley earlier this summer. Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse, the commander of Camp Ripley, said fewer than 60 of the battalion’s soldiers were sent back early from a June training session at the facility in north-central Minnesota. Kruse originally stated to the Crow Wing County Board of Commissioners that 200 of the unit’s 500 soldiers returned to Iowa due to either positive tests or exposure to the coronavirus.
  • Real World Economics: COVID-19 is changing our economy; is it permanent?  From the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Sep 6: COVID-19 certainly is changing how people in our nation live and work — or not work. The question is which changes are temporary and will disappear once the pandemic ends; or, more importantly, which will be permanent and may foster even further changes going forward. Only time will tell, but there already are some indications.
 
  • MSP airport officials planning airline relief package worth up to $41M From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Sep 3: The Metropolitan Airports Commission is considering a relief package worth up to $41 million to help the airlines serving Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport manage the financial strain of the pandemic. If approved by the MAC, the plan would reduce the total fees and rents the carriers otherwise would’ve paid to operate at MSP in 2020. Those payments typically amount to one-third of the MAC’s annual revenue.
 



COVID-19 update as of 9/8/2020 
Confirmed cases in Minnesota: 81,608
% Positives, last 7 days (as of 9/1): 5% (stable from last week)
Confirmed cases in U.S.: over 6.3M
Confirmed cases globally: almost 37.4M
Cases requiring hospitalization: 6,760 (representing 8.2% of total) 
#s currently hospitalized: 257 (down from 272 on 9/3) 
#s no longer needing to be isolated: 74,235 (91%)
#s tested: 1,616,738
Total deaths in Minnesota: 1,862 (1,361/73% cases in long term care or assisted living facilities) 
Total deaths in U.S.: over 189K
Total deaths globally: over 897.7K
Cases in Counties represented: 
Hennepin County: 24,385 (892 deaths) 
Ramsey County: 9,727 (303 deaths) 
Dakota County: 6,542 (115 deaths) 
Washington County: 3,292 (55 deaths)


Resources
  • See available SBA COVID-19 training here.



 
Be safe and be well,

B

B Kyle
President/CEO
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce