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MN National Guard activated to bring crucial supplies to medical workers

Gov. Tim Walz ordered the Guard into service on Saturday.

Minnesota has joined a number of other states around the country in calling in the National Guard to assist with the coronavirus response. 

On Saturday, Gov. Walz signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard to help deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to the state's healthcare workers. 

“In times of need, Minnesotans pull together to make sure we have the resources and supplies we need to get through challenges,” said Gov. Walz in a statement. “Minnesota’s hospitals, health care facilities, and first responders are in desperate need of personal protective equipment, and I’m grateful to have the Minnesota National Guard’s partnership in delivering these supplies for Minnesotans.”

The guard will move PPE in storage at Camp Ripley in Little Falls to the Minnesota Department of Health warehouse in Saint Paul, a release says. From there, they'll "also assist with planning and coordination of PPE supply delivery through the State Emergency Operations Center."

The Guard's activation is "effective immediately" and will stand for the duration of the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, which Walz declared by executive order earlier this month. 

This comes a day after the Minnesota Nurses Association issued a plea to the public for N95 respirator masks, which are in critically short supply at hospitals across the country.

They're a crucial tool for medical workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, as the virus seems to be hitting them especially hard. 

According to the Pioneer Press, the PPE being transported by the Minnesota National Guard includes masks and gloves. 

As of this weekend, the National Guard has been deployed nearly 5,500 troops and personnel in 32 states because of the coronavirus, The Hill reports. 

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