Coronavirus: Gov. Tim Walz to provide latest update at Monday press conference

It's possible that a statement on elective surgeries will be forthcoming.
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Gov. Tim Walz will provide his latest update on Minnesota's response to the coronavirus outbreak on Monday, and could make an announcement regarding elective medical procedures.

The governor's office has confirmed to BMTN that Gov. Walz will hold a press conference that will be live on his YouTube page at 2 p.m.

We reported last week that an announcement on elective procedures was likely coming on Monday or Tuesday, after the Minnesota Department of Health launched a consultation asking for feedback on how hospitals and clinics should start expanding their services.

Elective and non-essential procedures were suspended in late March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak to give the state's healthcare system the time to build capacity to handle a coronavirus surge.

With state leaders now more comfortable with hospital bed, ventilator and ICU capacity, the governor could be set to allow hospitals to resume elective procedures.

That said, KSTP's Tom Hauser suggested there will be no "major announcements" made by the governor on Monday.

It's not yet clear to what extent hospitals will be permitted to reopen for elective procedures, what safety measures they must take, and whether this will also include the likes of dental and veterinary procedures.

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Since the outbreak started, hospitals across Minnesota have furloughed thousands of workers not required for frontline treatment of emergency care and COVID-19 cases.

There have also been concerns raised that some people are missing out on important, albeit not necessarily life-saving treatment or diagnoses as a result of the temporary suspension of elective procedures.

Furthermore, it's expected to have taken a heavy financial toll on healthcare companies and hospitals, with the Mayo Clinic projecting a $3 billion loss as a result of the pandemic.

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