Immediate Steps to Deal with COVID-19 Surge

MNA Nurses call on Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to immediately implement steps to deal with the current COVID-19 surge

On November 17, MNA sent a letter to Governor Walz on behalf of 22,000 nurses calling on him to use his executive authority to protect nurses and patients. Facing another surge of Minnesotans with COVID-19 who are seeking hospitalization and facing severe complications, including death, nurses know hospital staff are already bending to meet capacity. Nurses also know that this will cause the system to eventually break, putting patients at risk, and costing countless lives.

Unfortunately, hospital leaders continue to prioritize business interests over patient care. Nurses believe that it’s time for Governor Walz to lead and intervene with decisive action to ensure that they can continue to safely care for patients.

He responded that timing and the limits of his authority prevented him from acting on the steps proposed in the letter. However, nurses still need Governor Walz’s help to make their work lives safer.  We are asking him to find ways to continue to work with us to implement these immediate steps.

Click here to tell Governor Walz to act now! 

  1. Close Hospitals to Visitors
  • The more time nurses spend making sure visitors are wearing masks, the less time they have to focus on caring for patients.
  • Most hospital rooms are not large enough to social distance with more than two people inside, increasing the danger of spreading COVID-19 among staff and visitors.
  1. Rapid Testing and Results for Every Nurse and Healthcare Worker
  • Nurses are waiting days, in some cases up to a week, to receive test results.
  • Hospitals require nurses to burn through personal benefit time while waiting for results.
  • Waiting for results keeps nurses away from the bedside at a time they are needed most.
  1. Require Hospitals Create and Share Elective Surgery Plans
  • Without a statewide strategy, facilities are operating under different policies, which causes confusion.
  • Some hospitals continue to schedule elective surgeries at high volume even while COVID-19 cases are surging, and staffing is short.
  • Nurses need to know specific plans for balancing the needs of patients.
  1. Emergency COVID-19 Leave for Quarantining Healthcare Workers
  • Nurses are exempt from the Federal CARES Act, therefore employers are not required to pay them during quarantine.
  • Nurses and other healthcare workers who safely quarantine have to deal with the added stress of going without pay.
  • Emergency leave would allow nurses to return to work sooner and with less risk to patients and other staff.

Nurses appreciate the rough waters the Governor is navigating through in this politicized pandemic. However, it’s time for him to step in to protect Minnesotans. It is past the tipping point where individual measures will make the difference as this unwieldy virus spreads deeper throughout the state. A statewide strategy is necessary to ensure every nurse and every patient are protected. For the safety of nurses and the health of Minnesotans, we urge Governor Walz to take decisive action to protect and care for Minnesota patients.