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Minnesota to open an alternative care site in Brainerd

Gov. Tim Walz said the care center would be able to take 34 patients at a time to relieve the burden on central and northern Minnesota's hospitals.

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Good Samaritan Society-Bethany is located on Wright Street in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch file photo

ST. PAUL — Minnesota is set to open an alternative care facility at Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in Brainerd to relieve stress on central and northern Minnesota hospitals, state health officials announced Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday said 14 Minnesota National Guard members and nine federal nurses are set to staff the new transition care center. The facility will be able to take on 34 patients transferred from area hospitals as they recover from surgery or other emergency care.

It will be the second alternative care facility in the state, after Benedictine St. Gertrude’s in Shakopee made 30 beds available last week.

Typically, patients not yet ready to return home after emergency medical treatment would move to long-term care facilities, but Minnesota nursing homes and assisted living centers are facing staff shortages that have prevented them from bringing in new patients or residents. Walz last month increased an emergency staffing pool to help long-term care facilities with critical needs and activated the Minnesota National Guard to help staff alternative care sites and other facilities accepting patients transferred from the hospital.

“As Minnesota doctors and nurses care for more COVID-19 patients, we’re calling in reinforcements,” Walz said. “By working with our partners at long-term care facilities, the federal government, and the National Guard, we’re helping make sure we have the capacity to care for those who need it.”

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Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

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