State officials say some nursing homes and other long term care facilities in Minnesota don’t have enough staff to take adequate precautions to prevent COVID-19 infections. Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says they’re “looking for all kinds of different ways to buttress the available staffing”:

“Talked about working closely with our colleagues in acute care (hospitals) to be able to bring some staff in that may not be fully utilized in acute care right now.”

Almost 250 long term care facilities in Minnesota have COVID-19 cases. Over half of those have two or fewer cases, but almost two-dozen facilities in Minnesota have 20 or more cases of coronavirus. Long term care facilities have borne the brunt of COVID-19 deaths in the state.

The Health Department’s Kris Ehresmann says they’ve learned a lot about “asymptomatic transmission” of COVID, noting that some staff work at multiple facilities and might have COVID without symptoms:

“When we talk about that, we’re not suggesting that staff are blatantly coming to work with symptoms.”

Residents of long term care facilities are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 because many have underlying medical conditions.

Malcolm:

“We’re looking for all kinds of different ways to buttress the available staffing for long term care.”