BRAINERD -- Governor Tim Walz has announced a second skilled-nursing facility to serve as an Alternative Care Site to help relieve hospitals treating a surge of COVID-19 patients.

Starting Wednesday an additional emergency staffing team of 14 Minnesota National Guard members and nine federal nurses will treat patients at Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in Brainerd.

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Walz says as more Minnesota doctors and nurses care for more COVID patients, it's time to call in reinforcements.

Our new alternative care sites will treat Minnesotans on the road to recovery so our hospitals can focus on providing care for our most critical patients, including those sick with COVID-19. We're forging a coalition to assist our hospitals.

The site will help relieve hospital capacity in central and northern Minnesota by accepting up to 34 patients from area hospitals.

Patients eligible for transfer include those who no longer require minor emergency care but can't go home, like patients who are recovering from surgery.

Since Governor Walz announced his action plan in October, the Department of Human Services has increased admissions from community hospitals to state-operated facilities by 12.5%.

Last week, Benedictine St. Gertude's in Shakopee made 30 beds available for patients after receiving support from the Minnesota National Guard and state-funded staff through the COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Pool.


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