Walz: Restarting Minnesota economy requires jump in testing

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz provides an update on the state's next steps to respond to COVID-19 during a news conference on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 in St. Paul, Minn. Walz is extending Minnesota’s stay-at-home order until May 4 as the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state continues to rise. The original order was scheduled to end Friday. Walz said Wednesday that the order has bought Minnesota needed time to slow the spread of the coronavirus but must continue.

Following the advice of public health experts, Governor Tim Walz today extended the COVID-19 peacetime emergency that gives the state flexibility in responding to critical issues stemming from COVID-19.

COVID-19 continues to present an unprecedented and rapidly evolving challenge to our state. The peacetime emergency has provided us tools to save lives and mitigate the impacts of this pandemic. And we are not alone - 49 out of 50 states currently have a peacetime emergency in place.

Since the Governor declared a peacetime emergency, Minnesota has taken strong steps to respond to and provide relief for COVID-19 by enhancing protections for veterans in our veterans homes, activating the National Guard to assist in relief efforts, partnering with Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota to launch a statewide testing strategy to test all symptomatic people, and providing economic relief and stability to those impacted by the pandemic.

The emergency is not over, and we must continue necessary protections that are saving lives and keeping people safe. Working without the peacetime emergency authorities would create a significant challenge and slowdown in the state’s response efforts and ability to provide emergency aid and economic relief across the state quickly – particularly with the current number of deaths and new cases. 

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