MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO ) — On Friday, Gov. Tim Walz called on Minnesota Legislature to replenish and extend the state’s COVID-19 fund.
Gov. Walz signed into law a $200 million fund on March 19 to provide resources to protect Minnesotans and maintain state government operations during the pandemic. Currently, there is $65 million left in the crisis fund — which is on track to expire Monday, May 11.
“The COVID-19 fund is saving lives by increasing our testing capacity, ensuring we have enough hospital beds for every Minnesotan who needs care, and purchasing much-needed personal protective equipment,” Walz said. “The House of Representatives took a good first step today by extending the expiration date, but the need for more funding remains.”
Nearly $135 million has been allocated from the state’s COVID-19 fund to buy tests and testing materials, prepare an alternate care site for a potential surge in hospitalizations and obtain much needed PPE and hospital equipment.
The fund allows the state to quickly purchase items that keep Minnesotans safe and help curb the spread of the virus. Most of these expenditures are expected to be reimbursed through federal dollars the state has received or will receive.
As the pandemic continues, COVID-19 response needs continue to grow. State officials say Minnesota’s hospitals and long term care facilities are projected to need an additional $63 million in PPE and supplies in the next four months alone.
The fund balance is updated daily on Minnesota’s COVID-19 dashboard.