MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has signed an executive order Tuesday that he says will provide a “roadmap” for safely resuming elective surgeries in the state soon.

Starting as early as next week, doctors, dentists and veterinarians “who create a plan to keep patients and healthcare professionals safe may begin offering these procedures.”

Elective surgeries include those for chronic conditions, preventing and curing disease, and relieving chronic pain.

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“Minnesota has made significant progress in building up critical resources to combat COVID-19,” Walz said. “We’re proud that this progress will allow our medical professionals to safely resume certain procedures to keep Minnesotans healthy and improve their quality of life.”

Previous executive orders during the pandemic have delayed non-essential and elective surgeries consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The governor’s office says while the postponement of elective surgeries has proven essential for preserving hospital resources, health officials recognize that extended delays of certain care may pose a risk to patients.

Minnesota Medical Association President Keith Stelter, MD, released a statement in support of the executive order.

“The MMA agrees with today’s decision by Gov. Walz to carefully resume ‘elective’ procedures and surgeries,” said MMA President Keith Stelter, MD. “Like his prior decisions, this action was based on the best available information, as well as input from MMA and other medical organizations, about how to assure the safety of patients and health care staff while acknowledging that delays in care have consequences. The easing of restrictions on elective patient care and surgery can be safely undertaken in advance of easing of society-at-large restrictions because medical care facilities and personnel are well trained to control the safety and infection transmission risks in those environments. Minnesota’s physicians recognize the dynamic situation associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and are prepared to monitor and adjust, as needed, to changes in local conditions, hospital and ICU capacity, PPE availability, and health care personnel supply that may be needed to meet the critical care needs of COVID-19 patients.”

Republican State Senator, who signed a letter urging Gov. Walz to lift the ban on elective surgeries, called the move a “ray of light” to those waiting for “necessary medical care.”

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