ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz has put 400 National Guard soldiers into training to become nursing assistants and aides to relieve critical staffing shortages in nursing homes. Most of the state’s 365 nursing homes have turned away sick and infirm people because of Covid-related staffing problems. The state Health Department and the National Guard medical staff will provide the training, Walz said. More than 22,000 elderly and vulnerable people are at risk because of understaffed nursing facilities, the governor said. Also, hospitals are unable to find placements in long-term care settings for patients, who are backed up in hospitals and clogging the health-care system.

Earlier: Nursing homes turn away the sick, the infirm

Guard med duty

Walz has activated Guard soldiers before for civilian medical duty. Since October, 70 soldiers have supported Covid testing at sites in Crookston, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Inver Grove Heights, Stillwater and Wadena. Since the November, nearly 50 Guard members have supported transition care units at sites in Brainerd, St. Paul and Shakopee,