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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With Minnesota’s nurses and doctors on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19, there continues to be concern about keeping them safe.

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Gov. Tim Walz talked about the need for more personal protective equipment, or PPE, for health care workers at his daily press conference Monday.

“This shortage of PPE is a huge problem, and governors across the nation are reiterating that,” Walz said.

Even with Minnesota companies stepping up to help, more is needed. Walz said the purpose of the “Stay-At-Home” order is to buy time so hospitals can get more PPE. He said there’s enough today, but not for the future.

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“The question is will they have enough next week? Or more importantly, will they have enough on when the peak is there?” Walz said. “At this time, they don’t yet.”

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Allina Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tim Sielaff says to protect health care workers and patients, they’ve reduced elective surgeries and clinic visits, and they’ve ramped up video visits to limit exposure.

“We are learning from everything that happened in and is happening in Washington state, New York City and in Houston, and all around the country,” Sielaff said.

The idea is to preserve face masks, gowns and gloves for when they are needed most. It’s a goal Minnesota health care systems are collaborating on.

“We are all pulling together in the same direction and working towards the same goal of keeping Minnesotans as healthy as possible,” Sielaff said.

Allina has identified hundreds of new beds to take care of patients. But in addition to PPE, they say they are also behind on COVID-19 tests.

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John Lauritsen