March 2020: Coronavirus Update

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Coronavirus Update

This is the first installment of regular reports I plan to send to keep Minnesotans updated on my work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Look for others in the coming days and weeks as we work to address the fallout from this crisis.

-U.S. Senator Tina Smith

News Minnesotans Can Use

Staying Safe: Throughout this crisis, my top priority has been the health and safety of Minnesotans, and ensuring they are getting accurate information to deal with this crisis. You can turn to the Minnesota Department of Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for up-to-date, accurate information on Preventing COVID-19. These resources provide information on keeping families in our state safe, and include official guidance for Minnesotans who think they may need to be tested for the virus.

Contacting My Office

As I work in Washington, D.C. to deal with the impact of the coronavirus on Minnesotans, my staff and I are continuing to help people in need of constituent services. Out of concern for everyone’s health and safety, my staff in both Washington, D.C. and in Minnesota are all teleworking, and while we are not physically in the office, we are engaging with Minnesotans remotely. You can get information on contacting my office here.

Updates from the Senate on Coronavirus Response

As the threat of COVID-19 has expanded, I have participated in a strong effort in Congress to quickly ensure our nation’s response rises to meet this national emergency. It is my strong hope that we can continue to work together to address this crisis and its long-term impact on people, their health, their jobs, and the economy. 

I – and my staff – have been in round-the-clock contact with top Trump Administration officials, Congressional leaders, as well as with Governor Walz and key health and economic officials in his administration. 

I’ve also spent days discussing our state’s needs with top Minnesota health care, labor, agriculture and business leaders to assess the growing need for resources to help our state respond. In addition, as countries have closed their borders, I have been working with the U.S. State Department to help Minnesotans trapped abroad. 

Moving Toward Agreement on Major Bipartisan Coronavirus Package To Deal with Fallout from COVID-19

On Wednesday, the Senate continued work on a nearly $2 trillion Senate coronavirus deal that would speed assistance to health providers in Minnesota and across the country as they deal with the coming surge in cases. It would also help hard-hit Minnesota families, workers and small businesses deal with the fallout from COVID-19. 

Previous Congressional Action to Respond to the Pandemic

Earlier this month, Congress has passed two wide-ranging packages to begin the nation’s response to the coronavirus. My priorities have been to expand testing resources as quickly as possible, and to ensure that our hospitals and health providers-in populated areas, rural communities and small towns-have the resources they need to safely and quickly respond to the surge in the number of people needing care.

  • On March 5, Congress passed a bipartisan $8.3 billion emergency funding package to deliver an initial response to the crisis. Among other things, Minnesota is expected to receive approximately $10 million for its public health response.
  • On March 18, Congress overwhelmingly passed a second bipartisan package to provide paid sick and family leave, expand Medicaid, unemployment and nutrition assistance. I was especially pleased that it included my bill to ensure testing for the virus is completely free.

In the News: Responding to Coronavirus Threat

Senator Tina Smith's Signature