Walz Activates 400 National Guard Members To Help Staff Nursing Homes
ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) – Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday he is activating the Minnesota National Guard to form skilled nursing “response teams” that will provide support to long-term care facilities experiencing staffing shortages amid the state’s COVID-19 surge.
Over the next week, 400 National Guard members will start training as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides over the next seven days, according to a news release. Long-term care facilities that request assistance from the Minnesota Department of Health will receive a National Guard team to provide on-site staffing support for up to three weeks at a time.
MDH will work closely with the National Guard to direct the deployment of teams across the state. Guard members will also continue to be deployed in alternative care facilities in Shakopee, Brainerd and St. Paul to provide transitional care to patients who no longer need to be hospitalized.
Walz also said he will use $50 million in federal funding to help with employee hiring and retention at long-term care facilities.
The announcement comes as two federal emergency medical teams arrive in Minnesota this week to support staff at the Hennepin County Medical Center and St. Cloud hospital as the state deals with one of the country’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks.