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Emergency medical teams to support Minn. hospitals, including Alomere Health

Gov. Tim Walz announced on Wednesday, Jan. 19, that more than 100 nurses will start arriving at health care facilities around the state beginning immediately.

Gov. Tim Walz
Gov. Tim Walz

ALEXANDRIA — Alomere Health is among the 23 health care facilities around the state that will benefit from a program to provide staffing assistance for short-staffed hospitals.

Gov. Tim Walz announced on Wednesday, Jan. 19, that more than 100 nurses will start arriving at health care facilities around the state beginning immediately.

Walz last week directed $40 million in American Rescue Plan funding to hire emergency staff to provide care at certain hospitals dealing with staff shortages during the current COVID-19 case surge.

The Minnesota Department of Health secured the staffing support and is directing nursing teams to hospitals identified by regional health care providers as most in need of emergency personnel. The nurses will work up to 60 hours per week for 60 days to provide care for patients.

The first round of nursing teams will arrive at 23 hospitals this week, including Alomere Health. Another wave of an additional 100 nurses will arrive in Minnesota in the days ahead to support even more health care facilities.

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“Our health care workers have provided superb care to sick Minnesotans throughout this pandemic," Walz said in a press release. "But now, the Omicron variant is causing cases to surge, in some cases sidelining our medical personnel. At this critical moment, when our doctors and nurses are asking for our help, we are providing it.”

“We are working across the state to ensure our hospitals have the staffing support they need to provide urgent care during this Omicron surge,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said in a press release. “As we deal with the difficult weeks ahead, we owe our doctors, nurses, and front-line heroes all the support they need, and every Minnesotan owes it to them to take simple steps to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19. Get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask, get tested and stay home if you’re sick.”

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 25, 105 health care workers will start arriving to support the hospitals.

“The COVID-19 response effort has been a team effort from the start, and with this intense Omicron surge we have needed to find creative solutions to make sure our health care workers have the support they need,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a press release. “We appreciate our federal partners and all those who helped make today’s announcement possible, and we ask all Minnesotans to do their part to slow the spread and reduce pressure on our health care systems.”

Minnesota hospitals are reporting high levels of staff absences due COVID-19 infections and exposures, even as they treat a rising number of COVID-19 patients. As of Monday, Jan. 17, Minnesota hospitals are treating more than 1,600 people for COVID-19, nearly 80 more than this time last week. There are almost 250 COVID-19 patients in Minnesota ICUs.

Travis Gulbrandson covers several beats, including Osakis School Board and Osakis City Council, along with the Brandon-Evansville School Board. His focus will also be on crime and court news.
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