COVID-19 slams Minnesota police, fire, ambulance services

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Tim Walz and public safety officials are pleading for Minnesotans to follow coronavirus safety guidelines to protect their local police, fire and ambulance services, which have been hit hard by staff shortages amid the surge in cases.

Jay Wood, a firefighter from Plato, a town of about 300 people west of Minneapolis, told reporters Wednesday his 20-person all-volunteer department had to shut down last month because most members had tested positive for the virus or been exposed.

One had to be hospitalized, but the department has since reopened.

Wood says departments large and small across Minnesota face similar challenges.

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