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COVID surge, staff shortages hit Minnesota nursing homes

The Walz administration is asking state employees to volunteer for two-week shifts to ease staffing woes, especially in greater Minnesota.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST PAUL, Minn. — A current surge of COVID-19 cases throughout Minnesota has led to critical staffing shortages at many nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

That's forcing the state to send the National Guard to help out in some homes, while the Walz administration is also asking state employees to consider volunteering in facilities with critical staff shortages, particularly in greater Minnesota. 

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Tuesday that 47 long-term care facilities are in “a crisis staffing situation” and are receiving active support from the state, including help from federal health nurses. Department of Health data shows 90% of the state’s nursing homes and 58% of assisted-living facilities have active virus outbreaks. 

As part of a temporary solution the administration has emailed state employees, asking them to consider volunteering at beleaguered care facilities for two-week stints. The email says says no prior experience is required, and the state will cover travel and temporary housing costs.