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MN Senate Committee passes $20 million coronavirus fund

The full Senate still needs to approve the bill, which was passed by the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday.

ST PAUL, Minn. — On March 6, 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) confirmed the first presumptive case of coronavirus in the state.  

One day earlier, on Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee approved a $20 million emergency fund, which would pay for investigating the disease, monitoring outbreaks, conducting lab analysis, coordinating a statewide response and informing the public.

"This is a bipartisan bill that makes sure we will be ready if and when the novel coronavirus reaches Minnesota. We're talking about a public health crisis that is on the verge of becoming a worldwide pandemic. We must be prepared," said Senator Jerry Relph, of St. Cloud.

The full Senate still needs to pass the bill.

On Friday, U.S. Representative Angie Craig will meet with the CDC in Minnesota, and county health departments in her congressional district to talk about the disease and how Dakota, Goodhue, Scott, Wabasha, Rice and Washington Counties are preparing.

RELATED: Facts not fear: What Minnesotans should know about coronavirus

Also Friday, representatives from the Minnesota Department of Health and Minnesota Department of Education will meet at the State Capitol to discuss the coronavirus and preparedness within those agencies.

Lawmakers aren't the only ones in the state preparing for coronavirus.

The Department of Health says Minnesota can now test for the virus, and 3M has accelerated production of blue medical respiratory masks with the N-95 rating immediately upon news of the outbreak.

RELATED: U of M: 2 students asked to self-quarantine after coronavirus exposure

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence visited Minnesota and met with 3M leaders to tour the company's global headquarters in Maplewood and discuss supply chain issues they're facing due to coronavirus.

He praised the company for its role in the worldwide effort to contain the COVID-19 virus and noted the company accelerated the production of the blue medical respiratory masks with the N-95 rating immediately upon news of the outbreak. 

RELATED: See all reported cases of coronavirus on this interactive map

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about Minnesota specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215.

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