(FOX 9) – Two major hospital systems in Minnesota both made very public pleas Friday — they need help to slow the spread of COVID-19. And in one case they need real help in the form of workers.
CentraCare operates hospitals in central and western Minnesota, and the COVID-19 response commander didn’t mince words about their current situation.
“It’s terrible,” said Dr. George Morris of CentraCare. “I don’t know how to use different words sometimes, but it’s very busy. All our facilities are overcrowded and full, and by that I mean all our staff beds are full.”
dr. Mark Sannes, the deputy medical director of HealthPartners, which operates hospitals in the urban area, also sounded the alarm that they are now at their limits after taking in 20 new COVID-19 patients on Thursday alone.
“I think the most striking thing is that our hospitals have been very busy with non-COVID disease for the past two months,” said Dr. Sannes. “These additional 150 patients that we’re seeing in hospitals with COVID now is pushing us beyond our capacity. We have 10 to 20 patients who should be in the hospital who are now sitting in the emergency room waiting for a bed to open. “
In the past two weeks, cases of COVID-19 have increased by more than 50%. Minnesota has a vaccination rate of over 60%, which is higher than the national average.
“While we’ve had a lot of people vaccinated, we’re starting to see a loss of efficacy in that older age group,” Sannes said.
Of those who have been fully vaccinated but hospitalized with COVID-19, Dr. Sannes said that most are in groups that were advised – such as those over 65 or with underlying health conditions – but who had not yet received a booster.
He thinks this growing hesitation, combined with the contagious Delta variant, recent Halloween gatherings, MEA weekend trips and vaccine resistance, have all led to an increase in the number of cases Health Partners’ hospitals have at 97% capacity. leave.
Both doctors say the majority of their patients have not been vaccinated and many of their vaccinated patients are in groups that were already supposed to receive booster injections, but have not received them.
“We still have 20 to 25 percent of the population who have chosen not to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Dr. Sannes. “That’s the group pushing us over the top right now.”
dr. Morris says they serve a number of counties in rural Minnesota, where vaccination rates are only 40 percent. He also says they’ve lost staff during the pandemic, partly due to burnout, and they’re begging for workers.
“We’re looking for people with a passion or a goal for healthcare. And we’re hiring volunteers. We’re taking all kinds of degrees and licenses. We need you.”