Friday Digest: April 3

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Friday Digest: April 3, 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 and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan are committed to protecting the health, safety, and well-being of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have taken decisive action to curb the spread of COVID-19, support our health care providers and facilities, and mitigate the impact on Minnesota families. Please visit to stay up-to-date in this ever-evolving situation.

Message from Gov. Walz

For more information, visit

MDVA COVID-19 Update

Message from Commissioner Herke

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

Financial Assistance for Veterans Impacted by COVID-19, Programs Open April 6 flyer

On March 26, 2020, the Minnesota State Legislature voted to fund a special appropriation to assist Veterans who may be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Specific Programs have been activated in response to mitigate the economic effects COVID-19 is having on our Veterans and their families. These programs can close at any time without notice due to the exhaustion of approved funding.

COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant

The purpose of the COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant is to mitigate the negative effects and economic impact COVID-19 has had on Veterans and their families by providing a one-time financial relief grant in the amount of $1,000.

COVID-19 Special Needs Grant

The purpose of the COVID-19 Special Needs Grant is to provide one-time financial assistance to a Veteran or surviving spouse who needs assistance due to a COVID-19-related event. Any funding awarded from this grant would go directly to a vendor or creditor of the applicant, and no money awarded goes directly to an applicant or an applicant's family member.

Learn more about these grants, and other programs available to Veterans at

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

Homeless Programs Coordinator

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.