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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on April 19. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced Friday that he'll put the Minnesota National Guard on alert to help ease staffing shortages at hospitals and care facilities due to the rise in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated residents in the state.

Driving the news: Over 400 Minnesota patients are currently waiting for beds to open up at other care centers as hospitals across the state have reported that they're at or close to reaching capacity, AP reports.

  • There are nearly 1,000 COVID-19 patients in the state's hospitals and only 5% of intensive care beds were open on Thursday, the Star Tribune reports.
  • The Minnesota Department of Public Health announced Friday that the state had an additional 3,352 COVID-19 cases and 28 more deaths.
  • Walz said it's unclear how many members of the National Guard will be deployed.

Go deeper

DeSantis proposes Florida civilian military force that he'd control

Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Thursday proposed reestablishing the Florida State Guard, a civilian military force initially created during World War II, that would be under his command.

What he's saying: DeSantis said this civilian force would "not be encumbered by the federal government," adding that it would allow him "the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible."

Omicron variant found in Philadelphia man

A technician handles tubes containing swab samples for COVID-19. Photo: Ahmad Salem/Getty Images

A Northwest Philadelphia resident has tested positive for the Omicron variant, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Friday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case of the new coronavirus variant involves a man in his 30s, the department said.

Push to legalize sports betting gains support in Minnesota Legislature

Expand chart
Note: Minnesota bills that failed to pass this year can still be considered without needing reintroduction in 2022. Data: American Gaming Association; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

The push to legalize sports betting in Minnesota is picking up again.

Driving the news: DFL state Rep. Zack Stephenson, who chairs the House Commerce Committee, announced Thursday that he intends to introduce a sports betting bill when lawmakers return to St. Paul early next year.

Why it matters: Support from a key committee chair in the DFL-led House could create momentum toward a deal.

  • "It is progress they're talking about it," said Republican Sen. Roger Chamberlain, who plans to revive his own effort.