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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order allows certain out-of-state healthcare professionals to come into Minnesota and work temporarily.

Normally, they would have had to get a license from a Minnesota state board. The order cites this as the reason for getting more help in quickly.

“Rapid increases of COVID-19 cases, such as the situation in Nobles County, risk overwhelming local healthcare providers, particularly in rural areas. Long term care facilities, which are home to some of the most at-risk Minnesotans, are also experiencing shortages of qualified healthcare professionals,” Walz said.

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But the Minnesota Nurses Association has some serious concerns about this new order. Hundreds of Minnesota nurses have been furloughed since hospitals can’t do elective surgeries. The association says it doesn’t make sense to call in more nurses when you have nurses here out of work.

A statement from the association said in part, “Minnesota nurses call on the governor, legislators, and hospitals to come together to work on creating a statewide labor pool made up of furloughed, unemployed and retired Minnesota nurses to answer the great need being faced in our healthcare facilities.”

Emily Allen is a nurse working at Bethesda Hospital, which solely treats COVID-19 patients. She described their staffing situation to WCCO’s Esme Murphy.

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“Where I am in particular, I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but we have adequate nursing staff for right now,” Allen said.

Allen also said this is a constantly-changing situation

“But we definitely are every day seeing … the positive results of COVID coming back, so our influx of patients is going up,” she said.

The executive order is effective immediately, and will only be valid during this peacetime emergency.

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Katie Steiner

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