By Esme Murphy

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz responded to Minnesota critical care nurse Emily Allen Monday during his briefing with top state officials.

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Allen works at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul, which was recently transformed into COVID-19 care facility. She spoke to WCCO Sunday about her experiences on the front line.

“I just hope and pray that we continue to have enough equipment to safely continue to care for these patients,” Allen said.

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Walz says he wants Allen to know that he and state officials are working to get health care workers and hospitals what they need.

“I would tell Emily that we know she is out there, we know we have to get it to her,” Walz said. “We want her to know that the state is not just praying or hoping that we get them, that we are planning and doing the things necessary to get them to her.”

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Walz once again joined the call from the governor’s residence, where he is in the second week of self quarantine after a member of his security detail tested positive. The governor was again joined on the call by officials from the Minnesota Department of Health, Employment and Economic Security, Homeland Security and Education.

The state is scouting temporary hospitals; sites across the state for temporary hospitals that could care for 2,750 additional patients: 1,750 beds in greater Minnesota, 1,000 for the metro area.

Since the crisis began, 239,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment benefits, that more than all of last year. The state has changed the application process to handle the load and make it faster to process and get people checks. Officials says this will not affect the amount of benefits you receive. and that anyone can still apply.

As for the “Stay-At-Home” order, the Gov. Walz says Minnesota is doing it right, and that people are following the directive. How do they know? Traffic is down 79% in the metro, and 71% in greater Minnesota.

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The governor’s office says the officer in Walz’s security detail who tested positive is recovering and doing well at home.

Esme Murphy