Senator Karin Housley has been pushing for testing in nursing homes and on May 14 the National Guard was rolled out.
National Guard workers are currently assigned to help test people. According to KNSI radio, the Guards are trained medics, and many of them work clinical jobs. The Governors of Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, Maryland, Georgia, and Florida had all deployed the national guard by late April.
“Weeks ago, I urged the governor and his administration to conduct universal testing at long-term care facilities, where approximately 81 percent of COVID-19 fatalities have occurred in Minnesota. I also urged the governor to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to help with testing and other urgent needs. These facilities are home to thousands of elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans. I am pleased to see the administration finally taking action to help those living in long-term care settings,” said Senator Housley in a statement.
Weeks ago, I urged the governor to conduct widespread testing at long-term care facilities, where ~81% of COVID19 fatalities are occurring, & deploy the MN Nat'l Guard to help. Today I received word that he has taken this step. I'm glad to see action to help those living in LTC! pic.twitter.com/eUlrhJjFF4— Karin Housley (@KarinHousley) May 14, 2020
Senator Housley has asked Governor Walz to deploy the Minnesota National Guard and sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. Governor Walz has agreed to her demand and in response to the news of that happening, she said “… I do want to thank the Governor and Commissioner Malcolm for listening, we really need to save the lives of those in our long term care facilities.
Housley cited the significance of the staff of long-term care facilities, saying, “The staff needs to be testing because that’s how the virus is spreading from building to building.” As of May 14th, 82% of people who have died from Covid-19 were 70 or above.