Senator Johnson, Minnesota Senate pass emergency health funding

Today, the Minnesota Senate unanimously approved a bill to provide emergency funding for combatting COVID-19 in Minnesota. The bill, authored by Senator Jerry Relph (R-St. Cloud), passed with bipartisan support.

“Today, the Senate passed $20.889 million in emergency funding to help state and local agencies respond to this season’s health risk,” said Senator Mark Johnson (R-East Grand Forks). “As the coronavirus progresses, I will help with resources to prepare the state and district. The legislature will continue to focus on the health and safety of all Minnesotans, but we can all reduce the risk of illness with simple, common-sense precautions like hand washing and staying home when sick.”

Senate File 3813 appropriates $20.899 million to the Public Health Response Emergency Account. In the event the funds go unused or are reimbursed by the federal government, the money will automatically transfer back to the general fund. The emergency funds will allow the Minnesota Department of Health, in collaboration with state and federal officials, to support disease investigation, monitor potential cluster outbreaks, provide information to the public, coordinate statewide response activities, and conduct laboratory analysis. Top legislators, the administration, and public health officials remain in frequent contact.

Public health officials have announced two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Minnesota. While no large-scale travel bans are in place, officials have announced temporary flight restrictions at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. State and local officials are also working with state epidemiological officials on contingency plans that could be implemented if the needed arises.

The legislation now awaits action by the House of Representatives.

In addition to prevention efforts at the Capitol, Minnesotans are encouraged to monitor CDC developments and daily guidance to see the deliberate steps they can take to protect their health and others in others in public.