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Defense Department Will Help Relieve Two Minnesota Hospitals

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Department of Defense will send medical teams to two major Minnesota hospitals to relieve nurses and doctors who are swamped by a rising number of COVID-19 patients, Governor. Wednesday’s announcement was made by Tim Walz.

Each team will consist of 22 people. They will arrive at Hennepin County Medical Center or St. Cloud Hospital next week and begin treating patients immediately, Walz said in a conference call from the Finnish capital of Helsinki. the latest stop on his European trade mission.

Minnesota has become one of the nation’s most infamous areas for new COVID-19-related infections. Hospital beds are overflowing with people who haven’t been vaccinated, and staffers are being exhausted by the influx. Jan Malcolm, Health Commissioner announced on Tuesday that she’s ready to extend access to booster vaccines for everyone over the age of 18 by Wednesday if the federal government does not act.

Walz said to reporters, “The vaccine is our best defense against this.” He noted that Minnesota is No. 2 in the country for the number of booster shots administered just behind Vermont and that the first doses have risen 60% over the past week. “And we are aware that this is our way to get out of this. … I’m asking Minnesotans to recognize, as we’ve been saying this is a very dangerous time.”

Walz and Malcolm expressed their gratitude to U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and expressed hope that more federal teams will be approved for Minnesota hospitals.

“There’s just been a massive demand for these teams across the country. At the moment, there are very, limited teams that can be used across the country and so the fact that Minnesota is getting two of them is great positive news,” Malcolm said.

The governor also announced that a third skilled nursing facility has volunteered to be a “hospital-decompression” facility for patients who don’t need acute hospital care but aren’t ready to leave home. Cerenity Senior Care Marian of St. Paul will take up to 27 patients from Twin Cities hospitals which are close to capacity.

Transitional care will be provided by ten nurses of the federal Public Health Service, 15 nursing assistants from Minnesota National Guard and private vendors. Similar facilities have already been set up in nursing homes in Brainerd and Shakopee to set up additional beds for transitional care, which are in short supply.

Walz repeated his request for the legislature’s approval of a series he presented to hospitals and care centers to help them cope with the influx. A special session needed to pass that plan, plus $250 million in bonuses for frontline workers and drought aid for farmers, has been held up for months over a stalemate between the Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic governor, who insists that Republicans agree not to use the session to fire Malcolm, as some have threatened.

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