First responders ask Minnesota lawmakers to take action during COVID-19 pandemic

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First responders in Minnesota are asking state lawmakers for help during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Firefighters, police, nurses and other emergency responders gathered on the steps of the state Capitol Thursday to ask the legislature for protection in their fight against the pandemic.

“I am mad, I feel let down, I feel betrayed, I feel like that pat on the back first responders have been getting from the so-called public servants in this Capitol just became a knife in the back,” said Chris Parsons, president of the Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters Union.

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Currently, Parsons said those who become infected with COVID-19 have to pay for their own treatment and must use their sick leave to cover any time spent in quarantine.

They are asking Gov. Tim Walz to issue an executive order to change that. The group requests that if a first responder becomes sick with COVID-19, they would instantly become eligible for worker’s compensation coverage.

“Minnesota, nurses have been there for you time and time again, and we will continue to do the work that you need and give you the care that you need, but to do that, we need things like proper PPE to do our jobs well, and if we don’t have it, or if it fails, we need to know that our lives and our livelihoods will be taken care of,” said Kelley Anaas, with the Minnesota Nurses Association.