Governor enlists National Guard to help deliver hospital supplies
March 20, 2020
On Saturday, March 21, Governor Tim Walz enacted a new Executive Order, which authorizes the Minnesota National Guard to provide assistance during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the Minnesota National Guard’s initial mission is to transport personal protective equipment (PPE), such as protective face masks, from storage at Camp Ripley to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The press release notes that activation of the Minnesota National Guard has already begun and is active through the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.
Walz begins his latest Executive Order by noting that he declared a peacetime emergency (Executive Order 20-01) on March 13 and directed the Minnesota National Guard to ensure that it be ready to assist.
“Ensuring the availability and use of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) is essential to our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Executive Order 20-13 states. “Minnesota’s hospitals, healthcare facilities, and first responders report that their supplies of PPE are critically low. Additional PPE deliveries from the Strategic National Stockpile have been delayed. The Minnesota Department of Health (“MDH”) has requested that all PPE in storage at Camp Ripley be transported to the MDH warehouse in Saint Paul immediately. The State Emergency Operations Center has requested assistance with planning and coordination to help ensure that Minnesota’s healthcare system and providers have adequate supplies of PPE, critical medical equipment, and supplies to care for people suffering from the pandemic. The National Guard logistics planning team has the ability and expertise to provide this assistance.”
In other weekend news, on Sunday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced that there are 25 new cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota, for a total of 169 cases in 28 counties. Health officials reported Minnesota's first death due to COVID-19 yesterday Saturday; the elderly victim died on Thursday, March 19.