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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Tim Walz is once again enlisting the Minnesota National Guard for the states COVID-19 pandemic response,

Walz today announced what he termed a comprehensive COVID-19 action plan. He says it will relieve the state's increasingly crowded hospitals and provide new rapid testing options.

His plan places the National Garden on alert to provide staffing at long-term care facilities in Minnesota, while also expanding access to the COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Pool, allowing those facilities to request emergency temporary staffing due to a COVID outbreak.

Walz is also directing the State Department of Human Services to free up capacity at long-term care facilities as a way to relieve hospital capacity. There are currently just under 1000 COVID patients hospitalized in Minnesota and just over 250 of them are in intensive care units.

covid vaccine
(Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

The plan announced by the governor also activates the National Guard for a new Community Rapid Testing program. It will be launched next week and three communities and expand to another three the following week. The sites, which will initially be located in Stillwater, Hutchinson, and Crookston, will offer antigen tests that will provide results in a matter of minutes to help address the needs of families with school-age children.


The tests will also be offered at some of the other existing community testing program locations and in partnership with local public health agencies across the state. Additional information will be released next week.

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