200 Minnesota National Guard members activated for COVID-19 help

More than 200 members of the Minnesota National Guard have been activated to support the state’s COVID-19 response. That number will double to more than 400 by the end of the week.

The National Guard is being activated to help in three specific areas:

  • Staffing support for long-term care facilities
  • Supporting nasal swab community testing sites
  • Supporting saliva community testing sites

“The Minnesota National Guard stands ready to assist the people of our state and nation through the uncertainty of this COVID-19 crisis period,” said Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. “Guardsmen enlist to serve and defend their friends and neighbors during times of need. Whether for a pandemic, natural disaster, or to defend our nation overseas the Guard will be there when they need us.”

The Minnesota National Guard has been assisting the Minnesota Department of Health with community-based testing since September. This week, guardsmen will be assigned to 11 testing locations that will operate through the end of the year at National Guard armories in Albert Lea, Anoka, Crookston, Fairmont, Hibbing, Hutchinson, Inver Grove Heights, Morris, Stillwater and Wadena. An additional location will be in the west metro.

National Guard members at the testing sites will not be conducting the testing, but will be assisting with registration, supply management and transportation.

At long-term care facilities, National Guard members will complete temporary nursing assistant training in accordance with Minnesota Department of Health and the National Center of Assisted Living guidelines. The training will be conducted by members of the Minnesota National Guard and validated by MDH.

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities that have exhausted staffing options due to COVID-19 positive cases can request assistance from the state and the National Guard.