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Community notes: Stay-at-home order extended with exceptions


May 8, 2020

Gov. Tim Walz extended his stay-at-home order through May 18 last week, at the same time making changes that will allow some additional retail stores and other businesses to offer curbside pickup of purchases. Walz estimated his order will put up to 30,000 Minnesotans back to work. Restaurants and bars, as well as salons, barbershops and gyms are still prevented from offering inside services. Also last week, Walz gave the green light to allowing factory and office workers who don’t have customer-facing jobs back into their work spaces, with certain safeguards.

Walz signed an order Tuesday allowing elective surgeries. Starting next week, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians who create a plan to keep patients and health care professionals safe may begin offering services to treat chronic conditions, prevent and cure disease, and relieve chronic pain.

This order allows hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and medical, dental and veterinary clinics to resume many procedures now on hold, upon establishing criteria determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors.

Community Memorial Hospital CEO Rick Breuer greeted the news with excitement, but noted that CMH also fully supported the governor’s decision to suspend elective surgeries weeks ago.

“It gave us time to prepare for a surge in patients, and it allowed to stockpile the PPE we would need for what we thought was going to be a sudden and dramatic increase in patients,” Breuer said. “As forecasts have changed, we now also fully support the decision by the Governor to lift the suspension. The supply chain for PPE has improved to the point where we believe we can manage a reduced level of surgical activity while still maintaining a healthy PPE supply. We have implemented processes and protocols necessary to keep patients and staff safe. And we know that there are many people waiting for procedures that are growing in urgency. We exist to help people enjoy better health, and we are eager to restart many of our services.”


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