ST. PAUL -- Minnesota is activating the Minnesota National Guard to form skilled-nursing 'response teams'. They will provide support to long-term facilities experiencing staffing shortages.

Initially, 400 National Guard members will start training as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aids over the next seven days. Facilities that face severe staffing shortfalls can request assistance from the Minnesota Department of Health, and selected locations will receive a National Guard team to provide on-site staffing support for up to three weeks at a time.

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The Walz Administration will also use $50 million to federal American Rescue Plan funding for immediate emergency grants to long-term care facilities for employee hiring and retention.

More than 22,000 elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans receive care at roughly 365 skilled nursing facilities across the state.

The announcement comes after Governor Walz secured emergency federal teams to support Minnesota hospitals. The federal teams arrive this week in St. Cloud and Minneapolis.

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