Friday Digest: March 27

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Friday Digest: March 27, 2020

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This Week:

Message from VA Health Care

Attention Veterans: If you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and develop a fever and symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing, or if you are feeling sick or ill with other symptoms, your first step is to CALL the VA Health Care System at:

  • Minneapolis: 612-467-1100
  • Fargo: 701-239-3700 extension 2319
  • St. Cloud: 320-252-1670, or 800-247-1739
  • Sioux Falls: 605-336-3230 or 605-336-5001

The medical staff will advise you on next steps based on your symptoms. In a medical emergency, call 911.

Updates from the Governor


Governor Tim Walz joined leaders from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), Department of Employment and Economic Development, Department of Education, and the State Emergency Operations Center to answer questions from the press on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Governor shared details on his package of bipartisan COVID-19 proposals, which he worked on with the Legislature to ensure Minnesotans have the support and the right resources to combat the pandemic. The legislation:

  • Creates a Minnesota COVID-19 Emergency Fund to keep our state operating
  • Helps businesses across the state secure private funding
  • Awards grants to licensed family and center-based child care providers who care for the children of health care and other emergency workers
  • Ensures continued funding for food systems
  • And provides needed help to local governments, tribal governments, and nonprofit partners protect people experiencing homelessness from exposure to the coronavirus and to mitigate additional spread of the disease.

The Governor also announced efforts coming out of his Children’s Cabinet to drive resources to child care providers, who are critical for our state’s emergency response. Today, six Minnesota Initiative Foundations launched an Emergency Child Care Grant Program to provide financial support to licensed child care providers in Greater Minnesota, serving families needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They join Think Small, who stepped up last week to issue grants to family child care programs in the metro area serving families of emergency workers.

“As our Administration responds to COVID-19, child care is critical to supporting our workforce and making sure kids have a safe place to be,” said Governor Tim Walz. “While we work with our legislative partners to provide support needed, we must take immediate action to bridge child care providers relief. That’s why I’m proud of this partnership that recognizes how safe and stable child care is essential to keeping Minnesotans safe and healthy.”

Emergency Childcare Grant

As reports of discrimination rise, Governor Walz also made clear that Minnesotans across the state will not tolerate discrimination, racism, or disrespect of our Asian-American neighbors now or at any time. If any Minnesotans becomes a victim of a hate crime because of fear around COVID-19, they should contact law enforcement.

If anyone experiences discrimination in their job, housing, or in public place due to COVID-19, they should contact the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The Governor’s staff, along with the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Human Rights, and the Attorney General’s Office are working with community leaders to hear concerns and identify strategies to address discrimination.

Viruses don't discriminate

Everyone can work to reduce the spread of COVID-19

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or sleeve, or a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom or before eating. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth – with unwashed hands.

  • Stay home if you have cold- or flu-like symptoms, for seven days after your illness onset or three days after your fever resolves without fever reducing medicine, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Up-to-date guidance from MDH on recommended community mitigation strategies can be found here.

For more information, visit



MDVA COVID-19 Update

As we respond to COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) remains committed to serving Minnesota Veterans and their families. We are following CDC, CMS and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidance. Changes in our operations continue to provide a safe environment for both the Veterans and families we serve and our employees.

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries remain open for visitors who should practice social distancing.

Effective Monday, March 30 at 8 a.m., we will be adopting restrictions similar to those taking effect at all VA National Cemeteries.

Minnesota State Veterans Cemeteries will be open for direct transfer or direct interment ONLY. Access to the Cemetery Administration Offices will be limited to Cemetery staff only. Cemetery Administrators are available to discuss this situation and respond to questions.

For more information, visit our website.

Minnesota Veterans Homes

The Minnesota Veterans Homes are striving to keep families informed of the situation at the Veterans Homes and any changes in our policies. We have established a COVID-19 Information Line for families of Minnesota Veterans Homes Residents. They can call this number any time to hear a recorded message from an MDVA leader who will provide the latest general updates. The message will be updated every day. The numbers are: 651-757-1599 OR 1-833-454-0147.

This number does not accept messages. If families have specific questions about a Resident, they should call the Minnesota Veterans Home directly and speak to their care team.

The Minnesota Veterans Homes are continuing a practice of infection control, similar to actions taken during past highly contagious periods for influenza and norovirus. A Restricted Visitor Policy remains in effect. We are also temporarily revising guidelines related to admissions, leaves and passes. These changes reflect guidance provided by CDC and CMS and an aggressive strategy of containment and contagion control in our Homes. These protect our vulnerable Veterans and allow us to maintain the integrity of our mission to care for and protect the health of our Veteran Residents and staff.

For more information, visit our website.

Many people are asking how they can help the Minnesota Veterans Homes in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As you know, there is a shortage of facemasks. If you sew, you can donate face masks. View an instructional video here:  The Minnesota Veterans Homes would welcome any donations of facemasks to use if there is a shortage in our homes.

The Homes are also accepting donations including:

  • Handmade cards or drawings pictures

The following items must be brand new:

  • Small craft kits (for individuals)
  • Adult coloring books
  • New small packs of crayons/colored pencils
  • DVD’s – classic shows
  • Large piece puzzles (100-300 pieces)
  • MP3 players
  • Magazines – current and brand new
  • Easter baskets with wrapped candy – they could be assembled individually or provided for staff to assemble

For more information, contact your local Minnesota Veterans Home.


MDVA is hiring! The needs of Minnesota Veterans do not diminish during this time, and MDVA needs staff to serve and care for our Veterans. We have a significant need for Certified Nursing Assistants and Resident Assistants in our Veterans Homes.

Working for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs is a rewarding career with great State of Minnesota Benefits.

For more information on current job openings, visit our website.

MDVA Staff

Following the directive of Governor Walz, all MDVA employees who are able are now teleworking. Staff are available by phone and email and maintaining operations with minor adjustments.

Of course, our Healthcare staff continue to report to the Minnesota Veterans Homes to care for our Residents. A special thanks to these employees!


The National Alliance on Mental Illness - Minnesota is putting out Zoom meetings for mindfulness, stress support, and some counseling.

More Information >>

Veterans Crisis Line

Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves.

You can reach the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, press 1 for the Veterans Crisis Line, or text to 838255, or chat online 24/7/365

Work at MDVA

The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) is looking for individuals across the state interested in joining a team that is committed to helping serve Minnesota Veterans and their families. Whether you are a Veteran, family member, or an individual who wants to show your support for our nation’s heroes, we are confident you will find a career path that is diverse, team-oriented and focused on making a real difference. A full listing of positions can be found at the Minnesota Careers website. Some of our current job openings:

Fergus Falls


Little Falls



Silver Bay

St. Paul

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans Events

To ensure the health and safety of Veterans, the public, MACV volunteers, and staff, MACV has cancelled the April 14th legal clinic at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. MACV is monitoring the situation and may be canceling future clinics as well.

If you know of a Veteran in need of legal assistance please have them call Vetlaw at (651) 200-4750 or email Vetlaw at

Road Work Around MSP Airport, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, and the Minneapolis Veterans Home

Around the Airport

More Information >>

Your Voice Counts!

Help make sure Veterans in Minnesota are counted in the 2020 Census

Census Flyer

Each year, Minnesota communities receive 15 billion dollars from the federal government on the basis of the Census count.

That’s $15,459,175,947!

  • $2,796 per Minnesotan per year
  • $27,960 per Minnesotan per decade

Programs whose funding is affected by the Census:

  • Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Program - $2,850,000
  • Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program - $116,436,000
  • Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program - $45,000,000
  • Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program - $300,000,000

An accurate and complete 2020 Census count is vital to our community and state. Here are some of the most important things to know.

Who gets counted?
Everyone! The census is mandated by the U.S. Constitution and counts all people who reside in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

When is the Census?
Starting in March 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will mail letters to every household in the United States inviting all to respond to the Census survey. Every household should receive a letter requesting that they complete a census survey online, by mail, or phone by Census Day on April 1, 2020.

Why do we have a census?
The data collected from the Census is used to make sure everyone is equally represented in our political system, and that government resources are allocated fairly. The Census data determines how many congressional seats a state receives; how much federal funding will be allocated to local communities for public services and infrastructure needs; and provides a picture of the changing demographics of the country.