“We’re full in the wards, we’re full in the intensive care unit, we’re full in the emergency room,” said Dr. Bret Haake, chief medical officer at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
READ MORE: Delta Air Lines announces unvaccinated employees will face monthly surcharge of $ 200
Haake says an increase in the number of COVID patients combines with more non-COVID patients than there were during the worst of the pandemic last year to push regions into dire straits.
“We’re finding ways to maneuver our fullness to add one more patient, bring one more patient home to add one more patient, so we’re constantly making it easier for beds and patients with different diagnoses to try to do that. function, ”he said.
Haake likened the situation to a game of musical chairs. He says the staff are working overtime and working extra shifts to keep everything running.
Margaret Thorsgaard feels this burden at St. Paul’s United Hospital, where she is a technician in the emergency department.
“Most of us don’t go into health care to watch people suffer, and that’s what it feels like that’s all we’re doing right now,” he said. said Thorsgaard.
She also describes the ability to be at a breaking point, claiming that most shifts have no beds or very few beds.
READ MORE: Minnesota orchestra to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID test for fall concerts
State data shows COVID patients are the minority in metro area hospitals. They occupy about 7.5 percent of all beds.
However, the bed capacity is over 98%, so anyone going to the emergency room, whether for COVID or otherwise, is likely to face long waiting times.
“We have to make it the priority,” said Montrell Bond, trauma nurse at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale. “Patients come for typical emergency room visits, waiting times are increasing. “
Haake says some patients can wait up to three or four hours. Thorsgaard says she saw him wait over seven hours.
Almost everyone hospitalized for COVID right now in the regions is not vaccinated. Other healthcare professionals have reported the same in their hospitals.
Haake says getting the vaccine would help give the healthcare system a much-needed break.
The Minnesota Department of Health assists in transferring patients to where needed to try to lighten the load on any hospital.
NO MORE NEWS: COVID in Minnesota: Twin Cities metropolitan area intensive care beds near full amid wave of Delta variants
A spokesperson for Hennepin Healthcare told WCCO in a statement: “Like other hospitals in the state, HCMC has seen above-average patient volumes… Emergency departments normally see an increase due to a trauma at this time of year. COVID-19, other illnesses and staff are also playing a role in the challenges right now. If you are seeking care in an emergency department, be aware that patients are sorted according to the severity of their injury or illness. Waiting times depend on the time of day; and those who need immediate care are of course priority. At Hennepin Healthcare, wait times have been on the rise since mid-July.