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BREAKING: Walz signs executive order to restart elective surgeries

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Tuesday providing a roadmap to restart elective surgeries in the state.

According to a news release from Walz, beginning next week, "doctors, dentists, and veterinarians who create a plan to keep patients and healthcare professionals safe may begin offering these procedures, which can treat chronic conditions, prevent and cure disease, and relieve chronic pain."

The order allows hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and clinics to resume many delayed procedures "once facilities have developed criteria for determining which procedures should proceed during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided a plan to maintain a safe environment for facility staff, patients, and visitors."

This includes veterinary, medical or dental clinics.

“Minnesota has made significant progress in building up critical resources to combat COVID-19,” Walz said in the news release. “We’re proud that this progress will allow our medical professionals to safely resume certain procedures to keep Minnesotans healthy and improve their quality of life.”

Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said during the daily 2 p.m. press conference Tuesday that they feel this is the right time to allow elective surgeries.

"We are confident there is enough capacity in our hospital systems to allow elective surgeries," Malcolm said.

“We remain committed to preserving and acquiring protective equipment to protect our front-line employees from COVID-19,” Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan said. “But health conditions haven’t been put on hold during this pandemic. This action will help Minnesotans get care for chronic pain, treat and prevent disease, and address their health concerns.”

Walz said since non-essential surgeries and procedures were put on hold, Minnesota has made headway in obtaining additional personal protective equipment and improving testing and hospital surge capacity.

"Although postponement of non-essential or elective procedures has proven to be an effective means of preserving essential healthcare resources for the COVID-19 response, Minnesota Department of Health guidance recognizes that extended delays in the provision of certain care may pose substantial risks to patients," the news release said. "Non-essential or elective procedures are often clinically necessary to treat chronic pain and conditions, or to prevent, cure, or slow the progression of diseases."

Walz said the order is effective immediately upon approval by the Minnesota Executive Council.


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