Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz is asking the federal government for staffing and supply help for assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities, as well as hospitals, in the state that are struggling with shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Walz asked for 10 additional staff members to help facilities experiencing shortages due to a spike in positive coronavirus cases across the state. He also is asking for a 30-day extension on existing federal support as well as additional personal protective equipment, specifically, N95 masks and gloves.
“Minnesota’s case counts are on the rise, which means the need for staffing support will continue to increase,” Walz wrote. “Securing this additional staffing support, in addition to extending the current staffing support on the ground in Minnesota, would significantly assist our state during this tenuous time.”
To address staffing shortages, the Minnesota Department of Health established a crisis staffing team, expanded the use of the Minnesota National Guard, provided emergency emergency staffing pay incentives, and worked to secure additional relationships with staffing agencies, according to the governor.
Last week, Walz expanded COVID-19 testing access across the state as the state’s coronavirus positivity rate climbed. He also announced new restrictions to battle community spread of the virus, including limits on indoor and outdoor private social gatherings.