Walz to be joined by first responders at COVID press conference Wednesday

Some departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to COVID-19.
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First responders will join Gov. Tim Walz at a news conference Wednesday to discuss COVID-19's impacts on public safety and their ability to respond to emergencies. 

According to a news release, Walz, Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, Eagan police Chief Roger New, paramedic Ross Chavez and Plato firefighter Jay Wood will speak.

The news conference will be held at 2 p.m. You can watch it live on the governor's YouTube page here

This news conference comes as some fire and police departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to too many members of the department getting COVID-19 or quarantining due to exposure. 

The Plato FD on Nov. 10 said it wouldn't be responding to emergency calls in the city after three-quarters of the 20-person volunteer fire department tested positive or were exposed to the coronavirus. Instead, nearby departments stepped in to help respond to emergencies. 

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The Duluth Police Department last month also said it was switching to an emergency schedule because COVID-19 had impacted staffing at the department, with Police Chief Mike Tusken saying on Nov. 6 that 29 department staff, including himself, were quarantining from exposure to the virus.

As of Tuesday, Minnesota has seen 322,312 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,615 deaths.

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