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Governor Walz Announces $47 Million Allocation of Federal American Rescue Plan Funds for COVID-19

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced an allocation of $47 million federal

American Rescue Plan funds as the state continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The

$47 million includes funding to support child care programs across the state, provide immediate

hunger relief, and increase availability of rapid testing as the Omicron variant continues to

spread across the country.

“The federal American Rescue Plan funds deliver relief to Americans by providing resources to fight this pandemic and build a stronger economy for generations to come,” said Governor Walz. “Minnesotans continue to battle COVID-19 and the social, economic, and health care challenges it brings every day. Today’s investments will help more Minnesotans access childcare, ensure food security, and provide increased access to rapid testing.”

Increasing Availability of At-Home COVID-19 Rapid Tests

Testing is a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19, allowing Minnesotans to go about their

daily lives with less fear of contracting or spreading the virus. The Governor’s allocation of $2.5

million in federal funds will expand the state’s COVID-19 testing infrastructure, get more at-

home rapid tests in the hands of Minnesotans, and enhance the equitable distribution of

testing for Minnesotans facing healthcare barriers.

To date, the Walz-Flanagan Administration has secured and provided approximately 1.1 million

free rapid tests to Minnesotans through schools, child care providers, and state-run Community

Testing sites, and this additional $2.5 million will make the critical tool of testing more

accessible to Minnesotans as the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to spread.

Investing in Food Security Across the State

$20 million of the federal funds will be used to provide urgent relief to Minnesotans

experiencing food insecurity. Funding will support immediate household food needs and

system capacity as part of the state’s emergency food response and Supplemental Nutrition

Program (SNAP) benefit access. Funds will be targeted to a diverse network of food resources,

such as food shelves and meal programs, representing the efforts of community-based

organizations, tribes, and local governments. The funding will be used to cover food purchases,

food distribution costs, meal preparation, cleaning supplies, technology needs, outreach

efforts, and training and technical assistance to assist in the response to Minnesota’s

emergency food challenges caused by the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19 and

rising food costs.

Supporting Child Care Access

The Governor has also allocated $20 million to help child care programs experiencing increased

costs and staffing challenges related to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases remain open for

families. While Minnesota is in a stronger position than many states due to the Governor’s

continued support for child care, the sector was vulnerable prior to the pandemic and faces

unique and continued urgent needs as COVID spreads. The $20 million in flexible funding will be

used to assist providers who are experiencing lost revenue and increased costs associated with

COVID-19 temporary classroom quarantines, pandemic-related worker vacancies and staffing

limitations, among other needs. Child care providers may apply for and receive these funds

through the Minnesota Department of Human Services January Child Care Stabilization Base

Grant application.

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