By now many of you are aware of many internet-based resources pertaining to COVID-19. There are sites specific to MN; employees in Minnesota, and others providing centralized national guidance.
- Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB) has a site with Frequently Asked Questions and their responses. Responses may change daily.
- Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is one of the sites with the latest information and guidance.
- School Closings & Delays. WCCO has a site listing school closings & delays.
- KARE 11 also has a site listing school closings & delays. If you allow, KARE 11 will send you push notifications about the latest news.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Senator Tina Smith and U.S. Representative Dean Phillips to Host Coronavirus Briefing Call on Monday, March 16
Free and open-to-the-public coronavirus briefing call featuring Minnesota public health experts at 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET on Monday, March 16. Minnesotans are invited to submit their questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) online here, and join the call by dialing 855-927-0897 or streaming online here.
WHO: U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips; Dr. Rob Thomas, Medical Director, Emergency Physicians Professional Association; Dr. Penny Wheeler, CEO, Allina Health System; Additional public health experts to be announced
WHAT: Coronavirus Briefing Call
WHEN: Monday, March 16, 2020 6-7 p.m. CT/7-8 p.m. ET
WHERE: Call-in: 855-927-0897; Stream online: https://phillips.house.gov/dial-in
Please, don’t wait for more information before taking steps to avoid this disease. Talk to your supervisor now about teleworking from home ASAP. Test your electronic communication methods (speaker phone/headset, internet-based meeting programs such as Skype, Webex, GoToMeeting, others) before relying on them. Work with MN.IT to get the permissions and/or equipment you need. Consider if your home internet speed needs to be upgraded. Be aware that the state system will fail if overloaded. Consider ways to log in, download documents needed, and log off when working remotely. If you need to work from the office, consider alternate hours. Consider alternate in-office work locations to give yourself greater distance from others (six foot minimum). The FAQ don’t address this yet, but the advice provided by MMB Commissioner Frans to someone exposed to someone with the disease is to self-quarantine and work from home if possible. Develop plans with neighbors and co-workers about alternate ways to get things done and help each other if assistance is needed.
Will I get paid? Use of paid administrative leave, sick leave, and vacation are all options at your disposal. Discussions about the details continue. What is known is that employees ill or exposed to the disease will have options to get paid in situations when they cannot or should not come to the worksite. Make decisions based on principals that take care of yourself, your family, and others and you’ll be in a good position to have any issues worked out later.
In short most experts are providing similar guidance. Symptoms to watch for which may show up in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure include fever, cough, shortness of breath. Good practices include washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. Keep six feet from others. Disinfect surfaces and objects. If sick, stay home, unless you need medical care. Then, call ahead to the doctor’s office letting them know you are coming. At home, separate yourself from loved ones. Cover your cough with your elbow. Avoid sharing things like cups and towels.
MMB Commissioner Myron Frans has meet with and will continue to be in communication with the state unions. If you have a work-related situation and need assistance working through it with your State of Minnesota employer, contact MGEC at 651-774-0996 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do what we can to assist. At the least, we’ll make sure your questions and comments are heard.
MGEC Executive Director