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Minnesota Native News: COVID-19 Daily Update
2 minutes | May 27, 2021
Gov. Walz Marks Milestone Of 2.5 Million Minnesotans Fully Vaccinated
Boozhoo, aaniin, I’m Cole Premo, here’s your Daily Update. With the end of May in sight, over 2.5 million Minnesotans are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. It’s one of many positive signs being observed at this stage in the pandemic, but there’s still work to do. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz marked the milestone recently, saying he is deeply grateful for those 2.5 million Minneostans who completed their vaccine series. It means over 53% of the state’s eligible population, including 12 to 15 year olds, have completed their vaccine series. Along with the announcement, the governor also touted a New York Times analysis that found new cases of the virus in Minnesota have dropped nearly 50% from May 10 through May 24, which is faster than all but six other states in that timeframe. The state’s positivity rate and hospitalizations also continue to steadily decline. While there’s been strong progress, Gov. Walz and health experts say more people need to be vaccinated. So, the state is making it easier and easier, with more vaccines being provided before sports events, and there are six retrofitted mobile vaccination buses bringing doses directly to communities. Plus, all the state’s community vaccination sites are offering walk-in appointments. Those who want to search by vaccine type can go to Vaccines.gov. I’m Cole Premo. Quickly before I go, this is the last scheduled COVID-19 daily update for now and I just wanted to say it’s been a pleasure and privilege providing information to you, and Minnesota’s communities. Make sure to check out more of my content, and the work of many other talented people, at Minnesota Native News at MNnativenews.org. Stay safe and be well!
2 minutes | May 26, 2021
Health Officials Say It's Vital for Eligible Children to Get COVID Vaccine
Minnesota’s mask mandate has been lifted. The CDC says it’s safe for fully-vaccinated people to go maskless indoors and outdoors.But the COVID-19 virus is still thriving and spreading. That’s why health officials say it’s so vital for non-vaccinated adults to get vaccinated. And for parents to get their eligible children vaccinated.Why? Because the virus always seeks out those who are most vulnerable to infection in any space. That’s how it moves person to person and survives. The Pfizer COVID vaccine has been approved for children ages 12 to 15. Already more than 7 million people under 17 have been vaccinated in the United States.Vaccinating kids is important for getting them back to school safely. Most children who get infected with COVID develop no symptoms or only mild symptoms. But they also run a potential risk of becoming seriously ill.With more and more adults getting vaccinated, health experts worry that children might soon become the main group for the virus infection and transmission.Minnesota health providers are currently vaccinating 12 – to 15-year olds. It’s recommended you call ahead to make sure the Pfizer vaccine is available.
2 minutes | May 25, 2021
Traveling This Summer? Here Are Some Helpful Guidelines To Keep You Safe
With many expected to travel over the summer, the Minnesota Department of Health has guidelines for making a safe summer plan during the pandemic. MDH says the COVID-19 virus is still circulating in the United States and across the world, so there are still many things that need to be considered before traveling. According to MDH, fully vaccinated people, if they travel in the United States, do not need to get tested before and after travel, nor do they need to self-quarantine. You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the final dose of the vaccine. Those who are not vaccinated and travel out of state, they are advised to get tested three to five days after traveling and to stay home and quarantine for a full seven days after travel. MDH is encouraging potential travelers to think of ways to do small getaways locally. Those who want to get away on a summer road trip are advised to make sure everyone who can be fully vaccinated is before taking off. Another reminder is to be up to date on other routine vaccinations, like measles, since other diseases are still around. For international travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends delaying this type of travel unless you are fully vaccinated. The CDC says travel of this kind can introduce variants to the state that can then spread in its communities. Those who travel internationally and are fully vaccinated are still recommended to test three to five days after travel. Those who are not fully vaccinated are advised to get tested one to three days before the trip, and understand all airline and destination requirements which may differ from United States’ requirements. For more information on that, and other travel recommendations, check the CDC’s website.
2 minutes | May 24, 2021
State Partnering With Private Health Plans To Improve Vaccine Equity
The state of Minnesota is partnering with private health plans in an effort to give more Minnesotans the opportunity to get vaccinated. According to state officials, the departments of health and human services are working with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Hennepin Health, Itasca Medical Care, Medica, PreferredOne, PrimeWest Health, South Country Health Alliance, and UCare. The health plans will be working with the state to contact members and provide them with information on vaccination and help in scheduling appointments for vaccination. There will also be help with transportation and other services. The partnership is being called an effort to address equity in vaccinations, as communities of color are believed to be hardest hit by the virus, but have less access to the vaccine. Those who are enrolled in Minnesota health care programs, like Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care, should expect to have someone reach out to them. The effort will also focus on those who live in the most socially-vulnerable ZIP codes. Meanwhile, the state’s latest positivity and hospitalization rate have been decreasing, but community spread remains a concern. Nearly 5 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state. Nearly 90 percent of those ages 65 and up have received at least one vaccine dose; 62% of those 16 and up have also received at least one dose. The state is still strongly encouraging those who haven’t been vaccinated, and are eligible, to get a vaccine to not only protect themselves, but their community.
2 minutes | May 21, 2021
Minnesota Tribal Communities Set Pace Getting Vaccines to Vulnerable Communities
Over 60 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older have been vaccinated for COVID-16.Minnesota ranks in the top ten by state for percentage of COVID vaccines administered.Governor Tim Walz has credited Tribal communities within Minnesota for setting the pace and for showing how to get vaccines to those who need them most.These sovereign nations have been so effective because they focused vaccination efforts on elders and multi-generational households for native and non-native residents within their lands. Tribal leaders also made getting shots easier, bringing the vaccine to those who might have barriers to accessing it.President Joe Biden too wants to make vaccinations more convenient. One way is through the government website VACCINES dot GOV. There you can input your zip code to find vaccines near you. You can designate how far you’re willing to travel, one to 25 miles. And you can limit results by selecting a preferred vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.The search results offer a list of available providers by distance and whether vaccines are in or out of stock. By clicking the provider, you can check availability and make an appointment.A map, directions, phone number and link to the provider’s website are also given. Beginning May 24, Uber and Lyft will be offering free round-trip rides to vaccination clinics. This is part of a federal effort to get at least one dose into at least 70 percent of Americans by July 4.
2 minutes | May 20, 2021
State Officials Announce Summer Learning Funding To Help Students Recover From Pandemic Setbacks
Script: Boozhoo, aaniin, I’m Cole Premo, here’s your Daily Update. In an effort to help Minnesota’s students recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Tim Walz says he will be leveraging federal funds to provide academic enrichment and mental health support over the summer. According to Walz, he is funding summer learning opportunities by allocating $75 million of the flexible State Fiscal Stabilization Funds in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Walz and Lt. Gov Peggy Flanagan announced the funds for academic and mental health support at Otter Lake Elementary School in White Bear Lake. 19:59 WALZ: “All of these were requested from school leaders. They were asking to get this out there for our kids. We’d have liked to have seen it come out earlier. 24:00 FLANAGAN: We worked together to get to this point. We have the shared value of getting our kids what they need. Are able to prevent some of the summer slide and to catch up.” The funding is going to academic and mental health support, preschools for 4 and 5 year olds, school-linked mental health grants, expanded access to tutoring, increased adult basic education program funding and learning acceleration and college readiness initiatives. I’m Cole Premo.
2 minutes | May 19, 2021
CDC Says “Vaccine Effectiveness” Allowed it to Change Masking Guidelines
The COVID pandemic is by no means over. Yet the CDC is saying that it’s okay for fully vaccinated people to go without masks and social distancing indoors and outdoors—in most circumstances.Minnesota has also lifted its mask mandate, but has left it up to cities and businesses to make their own determination.What prompted the sudden turnaround?Two things. First, fully-vaccinated people rarely become infected and, even less likely, rarely transmit the virus. Second, currently available vaccines appear to be effective against variants.Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 94 percent effective in preventing COVID-related illness, hospitalization or death. Even those who’ve only gotten their first shot gain a huge benefit, with an 82-percent effectiveness against variants.Because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine became available later, there are fewer studies available. Health experts are still gathering data on how well it prevents infection and transmission.Some retailers are already revising COVID safety guidelines. Walmart, Costco and Starbucks have announced mask-free shopping for fully-vaccinated customers, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial regulations.Yet the CDC’s relaxed guidelines do not extend to all spaces. Mask wearing and social distancing are recommended in healthcare settings and on public transportation.
2 minutes | May 18, 2021
Even Though Statewide Mask Mandate Is Lifted, Health Leaders Have Mixed Feelings
Minnesota’s mask mandate has been lifted, but that doesn’t mean that some top health leaders aren’t worried about the potential impact the decision could have on the vaccination push, as well as more vulnerable communities in the state. After Gov. Tim Walz announced he’d drop the statewide requirement for masking during the pandemic following updated CDC guidance, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm stepped up to the podium. 10:26 MALCOLM: I have really mixed feelings about this. I certainly agree with the governor that there is good news here. Malcolm said it’s been found that the vaccine is enormously effective in not only preventing illness and death, but has also been found to prevent asymptomatic illness.. Which means those vaccinated aren’t putting others at risk unknowingly. 11:09 MALCOLM: I think it’s important that people understand what the guidance is. It means people who are fully vaccinated are free to go back to activities we were doing before the pandemic. However, Malcolm notes that there are still many who are not vaccinated in the state, and that’s concerning. Around 61% of those ages 16 and up have gotten at least one dose so far. MALCOLM: 61% is not nearly enough to keep this virus suppressed, so we continue to advise those who are not vaccinated to take precautions. Malcolm said that minority populations are not being vaccinated at the rate of their white counterparts, so getting the vaccine to these communities is even more important. In an effort to address and improve equity in the vaccination push, the state will be partnering with private health plans, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and HealthPartners, to reach Minnesotans enrolled in Minnesota health care programs such as Medical Assistance and Minnesotacare. The effort will also focus on getting doses to people who live in the most socially vulnerable zip codes. Minnesota’s mask mandate has been lifted, but that doesn’t mean that some top health leaders aren’t worried about the potential impact the decision could have on the vaccination push, as well as more vulnerable communities in the state. After Gov. Tim Walz announced he’d drop the statewide requirement for masking during the pandemic following updated CDC guidance, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm stepped up to the podium. 10:26 MALCOLM: I have really mixed feelings about this. I certainly agree with the governor that there is good news here. Malcolm said it’s been found that the vaccine is enormously effective in not only preventing illness and death, but has also been found to prevent asymptomatic illness.. Which means those vaccinated aren’t putting others at risk unknowingly. 11:09 MALCOLM: I think it’s important that people understand what the guidance is. It means people who are fully vaccinated are free to go back to activities we were doing before the pandemic. However, Malcolm notes that there are still many who are not vaccinated in the state, and that’s concerning. Around 61% of those ages 16 and up have gotten at least one dose so far. MALCOLM: 61% is not nearly enough to keep this virus suppressed, so we continue to advise those who are not vaccinated to take precautions. Malcolm said that minority populations are not being vaccinated at the rate of their white counterparts, so getting the vaccine to these communities is even more important. In an effort to address and improve equity in the vaccination push, the state will be partnering with private health plans, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and HealthPartners, to reach Minnesotans enrolled in Minnesota health care programs such as Medical Assistance and Minnesotacare. The effort will also focus on getting doses to people who live in the most socially vulnerable zip codes.
2 minutes | May 17, 2021
It’s Official: Minnesota’s Mask Mandate Has Ended, But Many Places Will Have Mask Requirements
Minnesota’s mask mandate is no more. WALZ:”It’s a good day, it’s one more sign of a back to normalcy.”Gov. Tim Walz recently signed the executive order ending the mandate following updated CDC guidance, which said fully vaccinated people can forgo masks in most indoor and outdoor settings.However, masks will still be a very common sight in many businesses and cities. WALZ: “There will be decisions that can be made by local businesses and jurisdictions, especially health care settings, people will continue to mask in some of those settings.”The move comes as vaccinations for those 65 years of age and older is nearing 90%. And over 61% of those 16 years of age and up have received at least one vaccine dose. Health officials would like to see that increase to 70% by the end of June. WALZ: Those of you who are not vaccinated, Now is the perfect time to get vaccinated. You can go without a mask. Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said she had mixed feelings about the end of the mask mandate, with equity gaps for those who have been vaccinated and the fact that there are still people at risk. More on that and attempts to address the equity gaps in a future update.
2 minutes | May 14, 2021
Experts Say Herd Immunity is Now Unlikely
Herd immunity. That has been the longed-for goal since the COVID pandemic began. Once we reach herd immunity, we’ll rein in the coronavirus and life can get back to normal.Now, almost half a year into the vaccination rollout, health experts are questioning whether the United States can actually reach herd immunity.Herd immunity is the idea that if you get enough people vaccinated, the virus will have nowhere to go. When you reduce the number of potential hosts, the virus has a harder time jumping person to person. And eventually, the virus dies out or becomes isolated and easily containable.So why do experts now think herd immunity is unlikely? Because of rapidly evolving COVID variants and vaccine hesitancy.The vaccination campaign is a race against the COVID variants. You want to get as many people vaccinated before the virus evolves to a point where the vaccinations lose their effectiveness.Even though half of Americans have received at least one dose, demand for vaccines has dropped recently. Most of those eager to get vaccinated have already done so. That leaves people who are hesitant to get the vaccine and those who are harder to reach through traditional vaccine outlets.This may lead some to think: Why bother getting vaccinated at all?Because vaccinations are crucial to limiting the spread of COVID. With enough vaccinations, the pandemic could transform into a manageable threat. COVID would continue to circulate but with far fewer hospitalizations and deaths.
2 minutes | May 13, 2021
Minnesotans As Young As 12 Now Eligible For COVID Vaccination
Minnesotans as young as 12 years old can now roll up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine. It comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light for Pfizer’s vaccine in children 12 to 15 years old. Pfizer's vaccine was previously approved for those ages 16 and up. The Food and Drug Administration's review of Pfizer's data confirmed the shots were safe and effective in adolescents, and that the side effects were "consistent" with older age groups. In the study, nearly 98% of adolescents were found to have produced enough antibodies in the month after their second dose. To help reach families who want the shots, President Biden's administration said the CDC is working with state officials to enroll more pediatricians and family doctors as vaccine providers and to make sure Pfizer vaccine supplies are available at local pharmacies. The CDC says providers may begin vaccinating the age group right away, and called it another important step to exiting the pandemic, and getting closer to normalcy. In Minnesota, the health department says parents can now make appointments for their kids. As of this recording, Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota have begun administering vaccine doses to this age group. The approval means nearly 300,000 more Minnesotans are eligible for the vaccine. While cases of COVID-19 are often milder in children, health officials have said vaccinating younger Americans would help avert future surges of cases in the adults around them and could accelerate the lifting of some public health restrictions. Children younger than 12 could soon get their vaccines, too. Both Pfizer and Moderna are testing the vaccine in children as young as six months old. I’m Cole Premo.
2 minutes | May 12, 2021
Minnesota Aims to Close Vaccine Gaps With Pop-up Sites and Mobile Vaccination Clinics
Health officials say 31 percent of Minnesotans have been living in zip codes with “high vulnerability” scores during the pandemic. These scores take in variables like poverty and access to transportation to determine what challenges an area might face in the event of a disaster like a pandemic.Since COVID arrived in Minnesota, this 31 percent has experience 42 percent of all COVID hospitalizations and 42 percent of all COVID deaths in the state.Communities of color have been among the hardest hit. Vaccine coverage still lags among Black, Hispanic and multiracial communities. Among Minnesota’s American Indian population, close to 40 percent have received at least one vaccine dose. And among the Asian/Pacific Islander population, over 45 percent have.This is compared to the over 50 percent of white Minnesotans.Minnesota wants to close the vaccine gap. So for the next weeks, state health officials will be working with community partners to bring vaccine doses directly to these hard-hit zip codes.They’ll also be targeting poorer and more isolated communities, including homeless encampments, agricultural workplaces and housing sites with limited transportation access through pop-up and mobile vaccination clinics.
2 minutes | May 11, 2021
Minnesota Ready To Vaccinate Children Ages 12 To 15 Once CDC Issues Guidance
Twelve to fifteen year old children will soon be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in Minnesota. The Food and Drug Administration has expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine into this age group. A clinical trial involving more than 22-hundred vaccine participants in this age group reportedly found that the vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19. Pfizer’s vaccine is already the only vaccine approved for those under 18 years old. It has previously been approved for people who are 16 years and up. The expansion of eligibility to 12 to 15 year olds will open up vaccinations to nearly 17 million more people nationwide, about 5% of the United States’ overall population. According to Gov. Tim Walz, Minnesota is ready to vaccinate 12 to 15 year olds and is just waiting for federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said quote “We have been planning and preparing for this moment and are ready to begin vaccinating teens 12 and older. Start making your plan, Minnesota — let’s get our kids their shot as soon as possible so they are fully vaccinated and protected in time for a fun, safe summer.” unquote As of this recording, the CDC has not yet issued the guidance. But It’s expected to come any day now. In addition to seeking emergency use authorization for even younger children, Pfizer is also looking to get its vaccine fully approved by the FDA. A parent or guardian will be required to give consent for anyone younger than 18.
2 minutes | May 10, 2021
Walk-Ins Now Accepted At Many COVID Community Vaccination Sites
Gov. Tim Walz and other state officials announced that many of the state’s community vaccination sites are now taking those who don’t have appointments. Walk-ins for those 16 years of age and older are now accepted at community vaccination sites in Bloomington at the Mall of America, St. Paul at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Lino Lakes and Oakdale. Walk-ins for those 18 and over are being accepted in Mankato, Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud. Walz says, since Minnesotans under 18 need to receive consent from a parent or guardian, the state is encouraging parents, guardians and families to walk in and get vaccinated together. The federally-supported State Fairgrounds is not currently accepting walk-in appointments. The increased availability of vaccine appointments comes as the state prepares to end capacity restrictions later this month, and double down on the vaccine push. Here’s Walz in a recent press conference. 2:07 WALZ: Back in March and April of last year, I said our only vaccine was social distancing and mitigation. That’s no longer true. We rank near the top for testing, fewest in cases and fewest in deaths. So, again: Walk-ins for those 16 years of age and older are now accepted at community vaccination sites in Bloomington at the Mall of America, St. Paul at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Lino Lakes and Oakdale. Walk-ins for those 18 and over are being accepted in Mankato, Duluth, Rochester and St. Cloud. Minnesotans can continue to make Community Vaccination Program appointments ahead of time by visiting vaccineconnector.mn.gov. I’m Cole Premo.
2 minutes | May 7, 2021
It's Easier Than Ever to Get COVID19 Vaccine In Minnesota
Wow. It’s finally easy to get a COVID vaccine shot. After months of waiting for the vaccine to become available, and more months of waiting to become eligible to get the shot, you can now make an appointment and just simply walk in almost anywhere.Fifty-year-olds can get in. Thirty-five-year-olds. Sixteen-year-olds.But when you show up at your appointment, you might be surprised. Where is everyone? Where are the lines?Vaccine hesitancy has set in. Or, you could say, the vaccine supply is catching up to the group of people who are unsure about or don’t want to get a COVID vaccine for various reasons.Two and half millions Minnesotans have already had at least one shot. This adds up to over half of everyone sixteen and older. And a whopping eighty-five percent of seniors sixty-five and older.Demand for vaccinations has gone down. Now health experts are focusing on hard to reach populations, who might have logistical challenges to getting a vaccine, and those with vaccine hesitancy.One way of doing this is through mobile vaccine units, which are visiting areas with lower vaccine coverage. Public health organizations are also disseminating information about the general safety and benefits of vaccination.The great hope is that Minnesota will reach that magic number of 80 percent vaccinated so that herd immunity will kick in and restrictions can be lifted.For MN Native News…. I’m Marie Rock. For more information go online to M-N Native news DOT O-R-GOUTRO/FUNDER: (pre-recorded)Marie: This MN Native News COVID-19 Daily Update is supported by the MN Dept. of Health.
2 minutes | May 6, 2021
Gov. Walz Unveils Timeline To End COVID Restrictions, With Mask Mandate Ending By July 1
Script: Boozhoo, aaniin, I’m Cole Premo, here’s your Daily Update. MinnesotaGov. Tim Walz has unveiled a three-step timeline to end all COVID-19 restrictionsin the state, including the mask mandate. Accordingto Walz, the first step, which was implemented at noon on May 7, will be thefurther loosening of restrictions to places primarily in outdoor settings. Thisincludes removing capacity limits for outdoor dining, events, and otherget-togethers. The mask requirement will also end for outdoors except for largevenues with over 500 people. Themandatory closing time of 11 p.m. will also end for bars and restaurants. Thesecond phase of the plan is ending capacity and social distancing limits on May28. These include ending the requirement for face coverings indoors and foroutdoor events that exceed 500 people. Thethird phase, ending the mask mandate, will happen when 70% of the state’seligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That’sexpected by the end of June, so the mandate will end by no later than July 1. Localgovernments will still be able to set their own mask policies and otherrequirements beyond July 1. Walz says the timeline of ending restrictions comes as the most at-risk Minnesotans— seniors, educators and front-line workers — have received their vaccination. Walz says additional protections will remain in place, including an evictionmoratorium and a ban on price gouging. As for schools, since those under 16 years old have yet to become eligible forvaccination, the Safe Learning Plan will continue until the end of the schoolyear.
2 minutes | May 5, 2021
Drug Overdose Deaths Increase Sharply In 2020 During Pandemic
Minnesota health officials say drug overdose deaths increased sharply in the state last year during the pandemic, and that it underscores the need for more resources addressing the issue. According to the Minnesota Department Of Health, 1,008 people in Minnesota died of an overdose in 2020, that’s up from 792 in 2019 -- a 27% increase. Health officials say the data shows that overdose numbers began to surge in March, when the pandemic began in Minnesota and the rest of the country. About half of the overdose deaths in 2020 involved synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. Overdoses linked to commonly-prescribed opioids, like oxycodone and morphine, increased in 2020 by 50%, accounting for about 200 deaths. It follows two years of declines. Increases to non-opioid drug deaths also occurred Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the staggering number of drug overdose deaths shows the need to amplify our prevention efforts and strengthen the ability of communities to support people and connect them with services. Some efforts that are being discussed include increasing access to the overdose-preventing drug naloxone, and helping Minnestoans get the care they need. For those who are suffering, help is available. The University of Minnesota has a list of resources on their website, called Support for Addiction Recovery during COVID-19. The Minnesota Department of Health also launched a new podcast series, called “Stories from the Field” that addresses the evolving opioid epidemic.
2 minutes | May 4, 2021
Minnesota's COVID19 Vaccine Campaign Continues With Focus on Frontline Workforce
With over two million Minnesotans having received at least one vaccine shot, the state continues prioritizing efforts to safeguard essential populations at risk for COVID.Now, the statewide “Roll Up Your Sleeves, Minnesota” vaccine campaign has turned its focus on critical frontline workforce sectors in manufacturing.That initiative kicked off in mid-April with food service workers. Industry leaders and notables, like celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern , have teamed with the state to urge workers to sign up for the state’s Vaccine Connector, which alerts you when vaccine appointments are available near you.A big goal of this push is to overcome vaccine hesitancy. One recent study found that as many as 23 percent of Americans are reluctant to get the vaccine. But to reach herd immunity, health officials hope to vaccinate at least 80 percent of the state’s population.By chipping away at vaccine hesitancy, Minnesota gets closer to herd immunity. And with more food service workers vaccinated, that could speed up the opening of restaurants and bars to full capacity.
2 minutes | May 3, 2021
RentHelpMN Officially Launches, Provides Help To Those Facing Eviction
The State of Minnesota has officially launched RentHelpMN, an effort to get emergency rental assistance to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Leveraging about $375 million in federal assistance, a partnership of several counties and the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul will be dispersing the money to renters. This is for those who need help paying rent and utilities to avoid eviction. Assistance can cover up to 15 months of past rent or utilities beginning March 2020, and three months’ worth of future rent. Here’s Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan: 6:11 FLANAGAN:”I’m a renter and every month I make my rent payment. And it’s the single, biggest payment I make. If you’ve not been able to keep up with rent and utilities, we have help and we have hope.” In order to qualify, Minnesota residents must rent and have past due bills, qualify for unemployment or were “negatively impacted” by COVID-19. For more on qualification and how to apply, go to RentHelpMN.org. That’s Rent Help MN. o-r-g Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Commissioner Jennifer Ho says the program is brand new, so it may take a bit for payments to make it to individuals. Aq
2 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Vaccine Efforts Are Working, But Community Spread Still A Concern
Boozhoo, aaniin, I’m Cole Premo, here’s your Daily Update. At this stage in the pandemic in Minnesota, over 4 million vaccine shots have been administered, more than half of the state’s population has received at least one vaccine dose, and the positivity rate is dropping again. These positive trends do not negate the fact that there have now been over 7,100 deaths linked to COVID-19 in Minnesota and many still in the hospital being treated for the virus -- nearly 180 patients in the ICU as of late April. Community spread is also a big concern with about 43% of reported cases coming from unknown exposure sources. So, a lot of work still needs to be done, which is why state officials are urging more vaccinations and continuing efforts for improving access to the vaccine. Getting vaccines directly to communities via mobile vaccination units has been a recent development. Here’s Gov. Tim Walz at a recent press conference in Richfield. 8:14 WALZ: “People aren’t hesitant to get the vaccine if they’re just really busy, or don’t have time, or a computer..this is making it as easy as possible for literally people to walk across their apartments and get the vaccine.” Walz says the goal is to get at least 70 to 80 percent of Minnesotans fully vaccinated and that could happen as soon as late May. Right now about 41% of eligible Minnesotans have completed their vaccine series and are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccines and resources to diverse communities continues. COVID-19 community coordinators, working with the state’s health department, are supplying vaccine information and other resources, including help with transportation, housing and language barriers during the pandemic. More information on that effort is on MinnesotaNativeNews.org I’m Cole Premo.
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