Minnesota opening up alternative care site as hospitals struggle with staffing

As COVID-19 cases in Minnesota continue to overwhelm hospitals that are already struggling with staffing, Governor Tim Walz announced Tuesday the state will open up its first alternate care site.

The state will transform Benedictine St. Gertrude’s, a senior care facility in Shakopee, Minnesota, into an overflow facility.

The governor's office says the biggest problem hospitals are facing is that patients who should be treated in long-term care are holding down beds. The trouble, according to the governor, is that hospitals lack the staffing and beds to transport them to the long-term facilities, thus locking up needed beds.

Benedictine St. Gertrude’s will accept up to 30 patients and will have eight nurses and four certified nursing assistants. The Minnesota National Guard will provide for additional nursing support as well.

The new facility comes as the state takes other steps to increase beds to deal with the recent surge in COVID-19 patients.