Minnesota Calls in National Guard to Help at Hospitals

National Guardsman receives COVID-19 vaccine.
Warrant Officer Michael Hymes assigned to Bravo Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, Minnesota National Guard, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at the Army Aviation Support Facility in St. Cloud, Minn., Jan. 9, 2021. (Sgt. Luther C. Talks/Minnesota National Guard photo)

ROBBINSDALE, Minn. -- Gov. Tim Walz said Friday he’ll use the Minnesota National Guard to help alleviate staffing shortages at hospitals and care facilities that are struggling to cope with the surge in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated Minnesotans.

The governor announced plans at North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale for alleviating bottlenecks caused by overstretched staffs that prevent hospitals from moving recovering patients to transitional and long-term care facilities.

More than 400 Minnesota hospital patients are currently waiting for beds to open up at other care centers and taking up space needed for incoming patients, he said.

Walz said the number of National Guard soldiers who will be deployed to help out and their exact roles have yet to be determined.

Hospitals across Minnesota report that they’re at or near capacity, with intensive care and pediatric beds in short supply. They’re currently treating just over 1,000 COVID-19 patients. But hospital officials said the problem is not just due to the coronavirus, but also other serious conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, trauma and scheduled surgeries.


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