Minnesota governor signs order directing National Guard to help get masks for nurses

Soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard deliver boxes of surgical masks. (Minnesota National Guard)

As nurses in Minnesota struggle to find protective gear, Gov. Walz is directing the Minnesota National Guard to assist in efforts to get more gear for frontline health care workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saturday, Walz signed an executive order directing the Guard to transport personal protective gear at Camp Riley to the Minnesota Department of Health warehouse in St. Paul.

The National Guard is also being ordered to help in the distribution of that gear. Earlier this week, guardsmen were working to unload a supply of 1,000 surgical masks from Camp Ripley that were brought to eight EMS regions across Minnesota.

The shortage of masks and other equipment, caused by growing demand across the globe during the coronavirus pandemic, has nurses and government leaders exhausting all options to get gear.

Saturday, Twin Cities nurses held a drive in St. Paul, asking anyone with extra masks to bring them in for health care workers.

"In times of need, Minnesotans pull together to make sure we have the resources and supplies we need to get through challenges,” said Governor Walz in a statement. "Minnesota’s hospitals, health care facilities, and first responders are in desperate need of personal protective equipment, and I’m grateful to have the Minnesota National Guard’s partnership in delivering these supplies for Minnesotans."