National Guard called in to help contain COVID outbreaks at two Minnesota nursing homes
October 14, 2020
In a troubling sign of COVID-19's resurgence, the Minnesota National Guard has been called in to provide emergency staffing support at two nursing homes struggling to contain large and deadly outbreaks of the respiratory disease.
Over the past 10 days, the National Guard has dispatched small teams of medical professionals to facilities at opposite ends of the state where dozens of residents and staff have been sickened, and where staffing levels became so depleted that they turned to the state for help. Both facilities - one in the southern Minnesota city of Austin and the other on the Iron Range in Hibbing - have active outbreaks and are isolating infected residents in separate COVID-19 units.
The rare deployments come amid an alarming resurgence of COVID-19 across the region and amid mounting evidence that the virus is infiltrating Minnesota's 2,100 long-term care facilities after declining over the summer. They also reflect how the virus is shifting toward smaller facilities in rural areas where staffing shortages are more severe.