ST. PAUL — An executive order telling all health care providers to postpone elective surgeries and procedures, including non-emergency elective dental procedures, to focus health care capacity and equipment on responding to COVID-19 cases and other emergencies was signed last week by Gov. Tim Walz.

Executive Order 20-09 complies with guidance issued March 17 from the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as similar guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued March 18 to delay elective surgeries and procedures, both to conserve health care resources and to reduce contact between patients and providers.

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

Elective surgeries and procedures must be postponed indefinitely. The executive order clarifies that a non-essential surgery or procedure is defined as a surgery or procedure that can be delayed without undue risk to the current or future health of a patient. 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 should not be postponed under this order.

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