Senator Housley receives health department response, data

After calling on the Minnesota Department of Health to disclose critical information regarding COVID-19 in long-term care facilities, Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point) received a letter and several documents (available below) from Commissioner Jan Malcolm on Friday evening.

In response, Senator Housley issued the following statement:

“I sincerely appreciate Commissioner Malcolm’s timely response to my letter. However, it’s also clear the administration should consider a more transparent approach when it comes to public disclosure. Perhaps never more than in a public health crisis, Minnesotans have a right to know what is happening.

“I remain extremely concerned that universal testing for all facility residents and staff is not proceeding quickly enough. I will be introducing legislation at next week’s special session that requires the department to implement widespread testing at long-term care facilities using a portion of the $1.8 billion in federal funding available to the state. 

“I also remain concerned that not nearly enough personal protective equipment is being made available to long-term care facility staff and that there is not more concrete guidance for facilities to allow visitors or other services on which residents rely. It has been more than three months since many of these people have been able to have visitors —and they cannot live like that forever.

“I am looking forward to working with the commissioner on making sure our seniors remain a priority.”

The following documents are available for download:

*Converted to spreadsheet format for readability, based on the information contained in PDF documents sent by the Minnesota Department of Health on June 5, 2020.

Senator Karin Housley represents Forest Lake, Stillwater, and the surrounding St. Croix Valley in the Minnesota Senate. She serves as chair of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee and is an assistant majority leader.