MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A surge in COVID-19 cases has led to critical staffing shortages at some Minnesota nursing homes and assisted living facilities, forcing the state to send the National Guard to help out.

Gov. Tim Walz's administration has also emailed state employees, asking them to consider volunteering at beleaguered care facilities for two-week stints. The email says no prior experience is required, and the state will cover travel and temporary housing costs.

Department of Health data shows 90% of the state's nursing homes and 58% of assisted-living facilities have active virus outbreaks.

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