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More Federal Help Coming To Minnesota Hospitals, Walz Says

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- On the same day officials announced the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in Minnesota for the first time, Gov. Tim Walz said more federal help is coming to the state's hospitals.

Walz's office said the Department of Health and Human Services will send a team of doctors, nurses and hospital staff to M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina. The team will arrive Friday to "support COVID-19 treatment and patient care."

Federal teams are already assisting at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital.

As of Wednesday, there were 345 COVID-19 patients occupying intensive care unit beds in Minnesota, along with 1,204 patients in non-ICU beds.

The Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday it found the Omicron variant in a specimen from a Minnesotan who recently returned from an Anime convention in New York City. The Hennepin County man had "mild symptoms" that have since resolved.

The man was fully vaccinated more than six months ago, and received a booster shot in early November.

The Minnesota infection is the second known Omicron case in the United States.

Also Thursday, health officials reported an additional 5,313 COVID-19 cases and 72 more deaths in Minnesota. Since the pandemic began, 9,554 deaths have been attributed to the virus and over 921,000 cases have been recorded — including reinfections.

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