An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Nov. 10, 2021

Minnesota National Guard responds to latest COVID surge

By Anthony Housey, Camp Ripley Training Center

CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. – Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were activated this month to support the state's COVID-19 response once again.

As coronavirus cases in Minnesota continue to overwhelm hospitals struggling with staffing, Gov. Tim Walz announced Nov. 2 that the state would open its first alternate care site.

Benedictine St. Gertrude's in Shakopee is a senior care facility supporting the overflow of COVID-19 patients. It can accept up to 30 patients and will employ nurses from the Minnesota Department of Health and recently activated members of the Minnesota National Guard to serve as temporary nursing assistants.

"The Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are highly trained and ready for this mission to support the citizens of Minnesota," said Army Lt. Col. Brian Douty, the Guard's officer in charge of this mission.

Last year, more than 400 Minnesota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen were activated to support care facilities and hospitals as the number of people with COVID-19 increased. This time, Guard members will support nasal swab and saliva community testing sites and staff long-term care facilities.

"In our continued partnership with the Department of Health, we know that the size of our classrooms, the experience of our Guard members, and our Medical Unit Training Facility were ready and energized the moment we were called to support the temporary care facilities," said Army Brig. Gen. Lowell Kruse, Camp Ripley's senior commander and assistant adjutant general - Army for the Minnesota National Guard.

Minnesota National Guard medical personnel are training Soldiers and Airmen at Camp Ripley as temporary nursing aides, validated by Minnesota Department of Health professionals.

"Camp Ripley's facilities are well-suited to this type of training, and we are always ready to support the state of Minnesota's Guard members," Kruse said.

Minnesota is experiencing a surge of COVID-19 cases, with almost 1,000 patients infected with coronavirus in state hospitals. 

"This is a smaller group (of Guard members), but just like last year, everyone has a positive attitude and are very receptive to the tasks at hand," said Shannon Christensen of the Minnesota Health Department. "The professionalism of the Minnesota National Guard is just one of the reasons why this is such a great partnership."



Related Articles
Minnesota National Guard Staff Sgt. John O'Donnell,148th Fighter Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician, provides COVID-19 testing support at a community-based testing site at the Hibbing, Minnesota, armory December 20, 2021.  The Minnesota National Guard is partnering with the Minnesota Department of Health to staff COVID-19 testing sites across Minnesota.
Minnesota National Guard fills gap amid COVID-19 surge
By Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, | Jan. 18, 2022
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. – The Minnesota National Guard is supporting new COVID-19 community testing sites in Cottage Grove, Anoka and North Branch.The Minnesota National Guard now has approximately 200 service members assisting...

Members of the Minnesota National Guard, activated by Gov. Tim Walz Nov. 18, 2021, to support health care facilities experiencing severe staffing shortages, train as certified nursing assistants and temporary nursing aides.
Minnesota National Guard to support health care facilities
By Sgt. Bob Brown, | Nov. 23, 2021
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Gov. Tim Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard to serve as skilled-nursing “rapid response teams” to support health care facilities experiencing severe staffing shortages.“Our force is highly...

Staff Sgt. Jose Bulow, a flight medic with Golf Company, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), is hoisted into a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, March 26, 2021, at North Fort Hood, Texas, as part of training before a 9-month mission to the Middle East. Golf Company is attached to Task Force Phoenix, led by the California Army National Guard's 40th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Task Force Phoenix trains at North Fort Hood for deployment
By Maj. Jason Sweeney | March 29, 2021
NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas – Flexibility and adaptability have been key for the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade in the lead-up to a 9-month deployment to the Middle East.The brigade is poised to deploy to the region for the third...