MDH Cultural and Faith Communities COVID-19 Update 5/15/20

Minnesota Department of Health

Cultural and Faith Communities Update on COVID-19

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May 15, 2020

The Cultural and Faith Communities COVID-19 Update is being sent to the following three MDH mailing lists to reduce duplication:

  • Cultural and Faith Communities COVID-19 Updates
  • MN Immigrant and Refugee Health Announcements
  • The Center for Health Equity

Today's COVID-19 updates include:

Status of COVID-19 in Minnesota

Updated May 15, 2020

  • Total positive: 14,240
  • Patients who no longer need to be isolated: 9,503
  • Total approximate number of completed tests: 134,669
  • Deaths: 683
    o Deaths among cases that resided in long-term care or assisted living facilities: 554
  • Total cases requiring hospitalization: 1,985
    o Hospitalized as of today: 498
    o Hospitalized in ICU as of today: 200

Numbers are cumulative since Jan. 20, 2020.

The number of lab-confirmed positive tests among Minnesota residents will be updated daily on Situation Update for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) with test results from the previous day. The page also includes a map of counties with confirmed cases, and more.

This total reflects only the results from laboratory testing. There are more cases in Minnesota, and the virus is circulating in communities. It is important for everyone to follow advice on community mitigation and social distancing to help us flatten the case curve.

The Governor has launched a public dashboard which includes race data of cases: Minnesota COVID-19 Public Dashboard.


New MDH Video on Social Distancing in English with ASL, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish

Image of Social Distancing video


MDH, in collaboration with tpt, has created videos on social distancing.  What does social distancing look like in our everyday lives? It means keeping 6 feet between yourself and others when you’re out for essential activities like going for a walk or getting food. Staying home and practicing social distancing is helping Minnesota slow the spread of COVID-19!  The videos are available in: 

The non-English language versions are also available on their respective language pages: MDH Hmong COVID-19 page, the MDH Somali COVID-19 page, and the MDH Spanish COVID-19 page

New MDH Video on Mental Health in English with ASL, Hmong, Somali, and Spanish

Image of Mental Health video


MDH, in collaboration with tpt, has created videos on mental health in a crisis available in:

The non-English language versions are also available on their respective language pages: MDH Hmong COVID-19 page, the MDH Somali COVID-19 page, and the MDH Spanish COVID-19 page

Updates from Governor Walz

Governor Walz announced the next phase of the COVID-19 response in Minnesota. Beginning May 18, non-critical businesses, like retail stores and main street businesses, can reopen if they have a social distancing plan and operate at 50% capacity. Additionally, the Walz-Flanagan Administration is assembling guidance on how to safely reopen bars, restaurants, barbershops, and salons beginning June 1. 

Also, starting May 18, Minnesotans are welcome to gather with friends and family in groups of 10 or less with safe social distancing practices in place. 

As we take cautious steps forward, it is more important than ever that we protect those most at risk, support workers, and all do our part to slow the spread of the virus. We continue to encourage Minnesotans to:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Get tested when sick
  • Maintain social distance
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay home when able

For more details and information, visit Stay Safe MN Coming Soon and read the news release: Governor Walz Announces Next Phase of COVID-19 Response in Minnesota.

mn dial image for Stay Safe

New and Updated MDH Guidance

Testing for COVID-19

Testing image

A reminder to all Minnesotans: If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you can and should get tested. Visit If You Are Sick to learn more about the symptoms and what you should do if you're sick, use the screening tool to determine if you should get tested, and find a testing location near you.

Other Updates

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Webinar on 5/21

In coordination with the United State Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry invites you to a webinar training on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).  The FFCRA requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.

This session will provide attendees with a firm understanding of the basics of the FFCRA, including which employers are subject to the provisions, which employees are entitled to the FFCRA leave, and the overall rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.  The webinar will include a Q & A session.

  • When: Thursday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

If you would like to submit a question ahead of the webinar, please email Dave Skovholt at

COVID-19 and Health Equity: Response and Recovery Tele-Townhall

At this event, ASTHO, Big Cities Health Coalition, NACCHO, and NASOMH will discuss how federal, state, and local partners and national organizations can collectively drive an equity-focused recovery strategy. State, local and city leaders will focus on the structural barriers to the COVID-19 response and the impact on marginalized communities, community engagement, data, and recovery strategies to address testing and contact tracing.

Presenters include:

  • Moderator, Dr. Gail Christopher, Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity
  • ASTHO member, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director for Health for the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services
  • Big Cities Health Coalition and NACCHO member, Angelina Esparza, the Chief Program Officer at the Houston Health Department
  • National Association of State Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH) Board of Directors Vice President and NASOMH member, Ms. Antoniette Holt, the Office of Minority Health Director at the Indiana State Department of Health.

Date and Time: Tuesday, May 19th from 2:00- 3:30pm ET 

Register for COVID-19 and Health Equity: Response and Recovery Tele-Townhall event. 


Healthcare Provider Support Circle

U of M School of Social Work Collaborative Response is now rolling out Zoom Rooms for peer support. The groups will meet for about an hour on Mondays 8-9 a.m. and Wednesdays 8-9 p.m. These will be facilitated by social worker volunteers, and are open to anyone working in health care now and dealing with the pressures of the COVID pandemic. 

This is a recurring meeting.

Join peer support Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 910 5541 2479

The same access code will be consistent for all group meetings.

Questions can be directed to:

Grants / Funding

Upcoming Funding Opportunities to be Released May 25, 2020


Requests for Services for Contracts with Diverse Media Vendors and Community-based Organization for COVID-19 Communications and Outreach

The Minnesota Department of Health plans to issue two Requests for Services on Monday, May 25.

  1. Diverse Media Vendors for COVID-19 Communications

This Request for Services will ask vendors to propose a plan for media services to help MDH in getting culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate, accurate, and timely messages related to COVID-19 to communities of color, American Indian communities and LGBTQ communities in Minnesota. Media services may include formats such as online and social media, radio, television and print. Vendors are encouraged to use methods that are adaptable to quickly changing information and explore alternative methods of communication that are effective while people maintain social distancing.

  • Funding: $750,000 available for multiple contracts.
  • Target Audience of Request for Services: Media vendors; priority will be given to media vendors who are owned/led/operated by people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ individuals. 
  1. Community-based Organizations for COVID-19 Outreach and Engagement This Request for Services will ask vendors to propose a plan for culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate and timely community engagement activities to aid the state in learning about community needs related to COVID-19, connecting communities to existing resources and services, and developing or adapting resources and services as needed. Activities may include outreach and engagement related to testing, case investigation and contact tracing, and mental health and well-being, among other areas. The primary audience(s) for community engagement must include people of color, American Indians and/or LGBTQ Minnesotans.
  • Funding: $1,500,000 available for multiple contracts.
  • Target Audience of Request for Services: Community-based nonprofit organizations, other community-led organizations, and Tribes; priority will be given to entities that are led/operated/owned by people of color, American Indians, and/or LGBTQ individuals.

MDH will make final selections of contractors based on a competitive review of proposals, while also ensuring that the final cohort of selected contractors covers a range of racial, ethnic and cultural communities and geographic areas in Minnesota.

The proposal submission deadline for both funding opportunities will be June 3, 2020. MDH will make more information available on May 25, 2020 with the release of the full Requests for Services. Current contractors of MDH will be eligible to apply.

COVID-19 Collective Fund for Trans Communities

Borealis Philanthropy’s Fund for Trans Generations, Destination Tomorrow’s TRANScend Community Impact Fund, and Third Wave Fund have launched the COVID-19 Collective Fund for Trans Communities to get financial resources to trans-led organizations and transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary communities who are organizing in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Some examples of activities that may be supported by this collective’s grantmaking include, but are not limited to:

  • Mutual aid and care support networks
  • Healing and virtual wellness spaces
  • Online/virtual programming needs
  • Living stipends for members and/or staff
  • Survival needs i.e. food, rent support, shelter, utilities
  • Organizing and advocacy

Learn more about COVID-19 Collective Fund for Trans Communities and apply.



Discrimination Hotline graphic

Discrimination Helpline

This helpline reinforces the state’s efforts to protect the civil rights of Minnesotans. It allows those who experience or witness bias and discrimination to report incidents to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The creation of the Discrimination Helpline comes at a time when there's continued reports from Asian American community members who are experiencing heightened fear and backlash due to COVID-19. One of the disconcerting aspects of the COVID-19 crisis is the continued rise of xenophobia and racism. 

Every Minnesotan can call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or complete and submit the Discrimination Reporting online form. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Interpreters are available. 

Translation services are available and information about the helpline is available in 17 different languages

Social media graphics about the helpline are available in 17 different languages here: 

COVID-19 Public Hotline

Questions about COVID-19?

Interpreters are available

Health questions:
651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903
Weekdays: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Weekends: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Schools and child care questions:
651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m on Weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Weekends.

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