Walz orders elective surgeries, dental procedures be postponed amid COVID-19 outbreak

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday signed an executive order to have health care providers postpone elective surgeries and procedures, including non-emergent elective dental procedures, so health care can be focused on COVID-19 cases and emergencies for the time being.

The order follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to delay elective surgeries.

"The greatest risk we face during the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelming our healthcare systems and limiting their ability to respond to emerging cases," Walz said. "This executive order keeps more health care resources open and prioritizes life-saving intervention for COVID-19 patients and other emergency care."

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"We urge Minnesotans to continue staying home if you’re sick and practice social distancing even if you’re not experiencing symptoms," Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan added. "But if you do get sick enough to require hospital intervention, we want health care providers to have the resources and space to provide the care you need."

Elective surgeries and procedures have to be postponed indefinitely by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 23, according to the order. Surgeries and procedures that prevent loss of life, permanent dysfunction of an organ or extremity, or risk of metastasis or progression of staging for non-COVID-19 patients aren’t forced to be postponed under the order.