Senator Housley receives updated data on COVID-19 in long-term care facilities

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released updated information regarding COVID-19 cases and deaths in long-term care facilities. This is the first update to the department’s initial release of the information last month after a threat of a legislative subpoena from Senator Karin Housley (R-St. Marys Point), the chairwoman of the Senate Family Care and Aging Committee. In response, Senator Housley issued the following statement:

“COVID-19 remains a significant problem at many long-term care facilities in Minnesota and I do not expect that to change until weekly testing is made available to all residents and staff in these settings. During last week’s special session, I introduced a bill to pay for universal testing using federal COVID-19 funds, but the proposal was met with a swift dismissal from Governor Walz’s administration and the House of Representatives. Strong, decisive action was taken by this administration to protect health care workers in hospital and clinic settings against the virus; why are some of those same actions not afforded to long-term care?

“We are also facing another grim reality: the mental and emotional despair facing many residents after months of loneliness and isolation. Despite the department’s new guidance on outdoor visits, many facilities are still not allowing visitors. For some residents, this is a matter of life and death. Therefore, I am asking the department to set a specific date for when residents may receive visitors. If an employee can come and go from a facility every day, surely residents can safely receive visitors, too.”

The following data, as of June 22, 2020, is 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 22, 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.