Minnesota leaders create plan to expand hospital capacity

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 7:06 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Tuesday, Governor Walz met with other state leaders to discuss current efforts to support the frontlines. The National Guard has been deployed to two hospitals in the state as capacity concerns continue with COVID-19 patients.

As of right now only two hospitals in the Twin Cities are getting extra help from the National Guard. The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness in Response looked at the hospital situations in Minnesota and saw the impact of the unique trauma resources and the location of the two that were selected.

“It is COVID that is tipping these hospitals over the edge,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm.

According to Hennepin Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer, between one-fourth to one-third of all its patients have COVID-19.

“Just about every hospital in the state is in tough shape in terms of how stretched thin they are, how hard their workers have been working for 20 plus months now so everybody needs the help of Minnesotans to understand what’s going on and as to what we can do to take the pressure off all of our hospitals,” said Malcolm.

To help with understaffing and overworking of hospitals, there were two teams of National Guard service members deployed in Minnesota.

According to Governor Walz, 23 members are currently getting CNA training at Hennepin Healthcare and another 23 members were sent to CentraCare St. Cloud.

Normally, deployment in a case like this lasts for 30 days.

“The duration of the support here will be determined as the situation evolves, but our team of highly qualified military medical professionals remain committed to assisting for as long as needed,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brandon Shealey.

Many in the healthcare industry say this is only a short-term solution.

“ Get your boosters Reduce High-risk behaviors so that as a state we can ensure each other that health care systems can respond when you or your loved one has a life-threatening emergency,” said Hennepin Healthcare Chief Executive Officer Jennifer DeCubellis.

Governor Walz says the next few weeks, including how we spend Thanksgiving, will be critical when it comes to slowing down this current surge.

“We’re going to get through this Minnesota as we always do. We’ll keep our kids in school, keep our businesses open, keep folk healthy and make sure we show that gratitude towards the healthcare professionals,” said Walz.

According to a Minnesota Department of Health case study, during the Delta surge this year, the state’s death rate for fully vaccinated people under 50 was so low it rounds to 0.0 per 100-thousand people.

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