Walz activates National Guard to transport health care protective equipment

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MINNEAPOLIS (Star Tribune) – Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday night announced an order activating the Minnesota National Guard to transport personal protective equipment needed by health care workers, as the state awaits deliveries of supplies from the federal Strategic National Stockpile related to COVID-19.

Executive Order 20-13 authorizes the state’s national guard for an “initial mission” of transporting supplies needed to prevent health care workers from contracting the virus that causes someone to get COVID-19. The supplies will be transported from the Camp Ripley regional training center near Little Falls to the state Health Department’s warehouse in St. Paul.

The governor’s announcement of the executive order didn’t say what personal protective equipment (PPE) will be transported. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says PPE for health care workers includes gowns, masks or respirators, goggles or face shields, and gloves.

The Minnesota National Guard will also help plan and coordinate delivery of PPE through the state’s Emergency Operations Center.

The executive order, which will remain in effect throughout the statewide emergency declared March 13 by Walz, “helps address the critically low supply of PPE in Minnesota’s hospitals and health care facilities, as well as the delivery delays from the federal government’s Strategic National Stockpile,” Walz’s statement about the executive order says.

Walz issued the order upon request from the state Health Department, after the request was vetted through state emergency-operations officials.

“In times of need, Minnesotans pull together to make sure we have the resources and supplies we need to get through challenges,” Walz said in the announcement e-mailed to media. “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.”

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