KIMT-TV NEWS 3 – Health, business, and political leaders are reacting to the new “dial back” announced Wednesday by Governor Tim Walz to help control the spread of COVID-19.
Walz announced a four-week pause on social activities, in-person dining, sports, and fitness establishments.
David Herman, MD, CEO of Essentia Health - “Essentia Health is grateful for Gov. Walz’s commitment to limiting the spread of COVID-19 at a time when resources are stretched to, or beyond, capacity at health care systems across the state. These actions will help protect our front-line workers, who are working tirelessly to provide care for our communities, as well as protecting members of the broader community. We understand these are significant sacrifices for people to make, especially as the holidays approach, but these actions are necessary to help us slow community transmission of this virus.”
Mary C. Turner, RN, Minnesota Nurses Association President - “Minnesota nurses strongly support the steps Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan are taking to dial back. These measures are a necessary step in saving lives and curtailing hospitalizations in the coming weeks. Right now, beds are scarce. Nurse staffing is at its limit. Immediate relief is needed. We hope that this is the next step and not the only step in addressing the crisis we’re in. Nurses are asking that everyone heed the guidance of the administration by following these new restrictions, masking up, and spending the holidays with those who live in your immediate household. The safety of Minnesotans rests on it.”
State Representative Peggy Bennett posted the following reaction on Facebook - "Below are the new Minnesota restrictions that Governor Walz announced this evening. I absolutely agree with the need to develop strategies to mitigate Covid19 deaths and make sure our hospitals have the needed capacity. However, it greatly saddens me that the Governor has made these changes with no input from the legislature or organizations that represent these businesses. YOU deserve a voice in this and, without the legislature, you have little voice in the matter. I will work hard with my colleagues in the legislature to come up with some relief for these hurting businesses, many of which are already on the brink of closing. We can all help these businesses, too, by purchasing gift-cards, ordering food for takeout, and doing everything we can to help them stay afloat."
"Governor Walz’s new emergency orders: Starting Friday at 11:59PM, bars, restaurants and breweries, are closed to dine-in services and limited to takeout and delivery only. The closures will last for four weeks until December 18th at 11:59PM. Bowling alleys, movie theaters, arcades, museums, gyms, and fitness centers will also be closed starting Friday night for four weeks. No social gatherings of any size permitted indoors or outdoors (in both private or public places) with the exception of those living in the same household. A pause on indoor and outdoor youth sports starting Saturday. The governor is encouraging Minnesotans not to travel out of state, and encouraging Minnesotans to self-quarantine upon their return. This is not mandated, but is being strongly encouraged. No wedding, funeral or other receptions— however church, wedding, and funeral services are still permitted. No new restrictions for retail and personal services like salons, barber shops, etc."
The Minnesota Business Partnership - “Since the onset of the pandemic, Minnesota businesses have the led the way in ensuring that their employees, customers and the public are safe. We take this responsibility seriously and continue to encourage our employees to take steps in their own lives to prevent and slow the spread of the virus – including social distancing, minimizing group size and wearing masks – to protect the health and safety of our citizens, young and old.”
“The recent rapid spike in COVID-19 infections throughout Minnesota – and the resulting strain on the state’s health systems and resources – is alarming and threatens to overwhelm our health care system. This situation is putting the lives of both COVID and non-COVID patients at risk. In the current environment, we support limited, targeted measures intended to mitigate the strain on our health care system and the resulting risks posed to all Minnesotans. “
“We also recognize the negative impact that additional/targeted measures will have on businesses and their employees, particularly small businesses, and understand how devastating further restrictions may be. Our hope is that these limited measures will be successful in halting the sharp increase in COVID cases, which will allow those businesses affected by these measures to reopen soon and their employees able to return to their jobs. We all have a vested interest in the dual objectives of protecting the health of Minnesotans and the health of our economy and communities.”
Dr. Kenneth Holmen, CentraCare President & CEO - “We understand that turning up the dial on safety measures isn’t what any of us would normally prefer. But these are not normal times. They are extraordinary times in the devastating way they are impacting the health and livelihood of Minnesotans. It is taking its toll on our communities, citizens, businesses, schools and families and we share that burden. We have reached a critical moment when everyone – not just health care workers – must come together to help each other move through the tough days ahead. Addressing this critical problem will hasten what everyone is looking for – a new day full of promise as the vaccine is rolled out. Coming together to solve big problems is what we do when we are at our best.”
Rahul Koranne, MD, MBA, FACP, President and CEO of Minnesota Hospital Association - “Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems are increasingly concerned as they work tirelessly to respond to the rapidly growing number of hospitalizations in communities across the state. The current explosive level of community transmission of COVID-19 in Minnesota means that our health care heroes – including nurses, physicians, therapists, pharmacists, support services, housekeeping, technicians, advanced practice providers and many more – are contracting COVID-19 as they go about their daily lives in our neighborhoods. We appreciate that Governor Walz is taking action to reduce and prevent community spread to ensure that we have care teams in our hospitals to take care of Minnesotans who need us, day and night. We each must do our part to protect our health care heroes, our family members and our communities.”
Reps. Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Tom Emmer (MN-06) and Pete Stauber (MN-08) wrote a letter to Governor Walz expressing their concerns - “Over the last several months, Minnesotans have worked tirelessly to save their businesses, reemploy staff, and restart our economy. Now, Minnesotans are scrambling for their livelihoods once more, even as funds sit idle that should provide them relief and security. As you force Minnesotans to close their businesses, we request that you immediately use the CARES Act money to provide Minnesota’s small businesses financial relief. Small business owners bear the cost of your new restrictions and it is imperative that these funds are used to assist them in their most dire hour.”
“Residents of long-term care facilities, senior citizens and those with underlying health issues are far more vulnerable and in need of additional protections," says Hagedorn. "Meanwhile, the chance of survival for younger coronavirus patients is exceptionally high. These new lockdown regulations represent an unnecessary threat to our economy, livelihoods and society, and offer little benefit to those most vulnerable. Governor Walz should immediately yield his emergency powers and work with the members of the state legislature to implement any needed coronavirus-related measures.”
Penny Wheeler, MD, CEO of Allina Health - “As a health care provider, we fully support these new measures. Our hospitals are filling up quickly and staff are becoming ill through community spread. We are at a critical point to try and regain control of the spread of COVID-19. Our incredible health care providers are doing heroic things every day to provide care under exceptional circumstances, but they cannot do it alone. We need the public to do their part as everyday heroes by making choices that will slow the spread of the virus. Coming together to solve big problems is what we do when we are at our best.”
Marilyn Peitso, MD, Minnesota Medical Association President - “The Minnesota Medical Association strongly supports the virus control measures enacted today by Governor Walz. The uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 throughout the state is taking a toll on patients, families, and health care workers struggling to meet the demand for both COVID-related care and other critical and necessary care. The need for these actions is clear and the opportunity to limit them is in the hands of Minnesotans. Please help us – stay home, limit your social contacts, wear a mask, get tested if you have symptoms or believe you have been exposed. On behalf of the physicians of Minnesota, please help us as we work to provide care for all who need it.”
James Hereford, President and CEO of Fairview Health Systems - “For nearly 9 months, our medical professionals have been working day and night to care for Minnesotans impacted by COVID. They are exhausted, but their commitment to caring for their fellow citizens is unwavering. They are truly heroes. But even heroes have limits, and the rampant community spread of the virus we are currently seeing is pushing our healthcare workers to the brink. In addition to their work caring for COVID patients, the community spread has increasingly put them at risk of exposure in their daily lives and further impacts our ability to deliver care. Our healthcare workers need the support of community now more than ever – and that support can come in the form of abiding by the public health measures put in place by the State.”
“We thank the Governor for his close collaboration with health systems and healthcare workers, and for taking these important steps to address the current realities of COVID-19. We hope that with these measures, we can bend the curve and keep Minnesotans healthy and safe.”
“Please, wear a mask and stay home when possible – including during the holidays. While we know it’s hard to miss seeing loved ones at this time of year, it’s the best thing we can do to protect them and each other.”
Mayo Clinic - “The COVID-19 surge continues to seriously affect the communities that Mayo Clinic serves across the Upper Midwest. Alarming increases in community exposure rates and test positivity significantly challenge Mayo Clinic's staffing and capacity to serve patients with COVID-19 and other conditions.”
“Mayo Clinic has approximately 1,500 of our 68,000 staff with work restrictions related to COVID-19 exposures or due to a COVID-19 diagnosis. More than 93 percent of these exposures occurred in the community, and the few cases of work-related exposure have occurred in break rooms or staff cafeterias where staff are not masked while eating. More than 93% of these exposures occurred in the community. In addition, a few exposures were work-related, occurring in break rooms or staff cafeterias where staff were not masked while eating. Mayo Clinic staff are not getting COVID from our patients. It is safe to come to Mayo Clinic, and people who need care can and should come in for care.”
“While Mayo Clinic recognizes the temporary sacrifices these restrictions may require members of the community to make, they will enhance Minnesota's ability to gain control of the surge and return to safe and normal daily life sooner. Mayo Clinic appreciates your support in keeping its staff members and patients safe through following proven prevention measures of masking, social distancing and hand-washing. Working together, we will emerge a stronger Minnesota.”