Gov. Tim Walz announces 4 more executive orders in COVID-19 fight

One is aimed at helping boost healthcare staffing levels.

Gov. Tim Walz has announced a further four executive orders in the ongoing battle to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota.

The governor released the latest orders just before giving the latest update on the state's response to the novel coronavirus at 2 p.m.

Here's a look at what they'll do.

Executive Order 20-24

Loosens hours of service and weight restriction rules for commercial vehicle drivers hauling livestock, to ensure producers and retailers maintain the supply of "essential products."

Executive Order 20-23 

Will give health-related licensing boards flexibility in licensing requirements so that healthcare workers who don't meet their continuing education requirements due to COVID-19 can still provide care. They can defer continuing-ed requirements, while emergency medical providers can do their education through distance learning, while temporary permits for nurses are extended. Background checks for licensing is still required, but fingerprinting requirements are deferred till the end of the emergency.

What's more, the order allows Minnesota Board of Pharmacy to put limits on dispensing Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine, which have been suggested as a possible treatment for COVID-19 but have not yet been sufficiently tested. This order will prevent shortages of the drugs, which is used for other conditions including malaria and lupus.

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Executive Order 20-22

Allows the State Auditor to work with local governments to adjust reporting deadlines for "various financial reports," so that municipalities can focus on the COVID response rather than having to complete the reports.

Executive Order 20-21

Amends a previous EO in order to allow constitutional officers to apply paid COVID-related leave for their classified and unclassified employees, which includes for the reasons of employees having to stay home to care for children due to school closures.

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