St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Tim Walz today announced a “battle plan” that will allow the state to go on the offensive against COVID-19 in Minnesota nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

80-percent of the people who have died after contracting the coronavirus infection in Minnesota were residents of congregate care centers. That works out to 400 of the 508 deaths reported since the beginning of the pandemic. Officials also noted that while people living in such centers account for only about 1-percent of the state’s people, those residents account for 15-percent of Minnesota’s confirmed coronavirus cases and 23-percent of the COVID-19 hospitalizations.

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the battle plan has 5 main points and focuses on elder care in the nursing homes and assisted living centers. The first is expanding testing for both residents and staff at the facilities, followed by providing testing support and troubleshooting. Additional personal protection equipment will be directed to the facilities and the state will help to ensure there is adequate staffing to deal with the illnesses and the care of the residents. The final point of the governor’s plan is to leverage partnerships between the state and local groups to assist the long-term care centers.

Malcolm notes one in five Minnesota nursing homes have at least one coronavirus case, while the ratio is one in ten for assisted living centers. She also stresses the majority have only seen one or two cases of the illness.

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