Hospitalizations in Minnesota for COVID-19 cases remain at the highest level of the year, according to the latest figures from the Minnesota Department of Health.
As of Wednesday, 1,462 hospital beds, including 330 in intensive care units, were filled with patients with COVID-19 – the latest information from the Ministry of Health.
Federal officials have sent reinforcements to help overwhelmed Minnesota hospital staff. A team of around 20 Air Force doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists this week began helping patients at Hennepin Healthcare’s HCMC Hospital in Minneapolis, enabling the hospital to create a unit to deal with backlogs in wards. emergency.
Next week, a federal medical response team is expected to begin work at CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital, which is operating at full capacity due to the increase in the number of COVID patients.
“Having this team come and help them right now is both a physical and a moral boost for them,” said Kathy Parsons, Vice President of Population Health at CentraCare. ” The [hospital] the staff are emotionally and physically tired. “
About 20 medical professionals – doctors, nurses and respiratory technicians probably from the Air Force – will spend at least 30 days working in the hospital emergency room, intensive care unit and wherever they are needed. , Parsons said.
Considering that there is a high percentage of unvaccinated people, the flow of COVID cases is unlikely to stop anytime soon, especially with people gathering during the holiday season that started with Thanksgiving, a Parsons said.
Meanwhile, some small rural hospitals that primarily provide basic care such as childbirth and surgeries have to keep COVID patients who require complex care more often as there is no room at St. Cloud, Parsons said.
With the help of telehealth, staff at St. Cloud frequently provided counseling for these complex cases in small hospitals, she said.
Meanwhile, the influx of COVID cases means other patients who experience a traumatic event such as a heart attack or stroke may have a harder time getting to a hospital bed, Parsons said.
“I tell everyone I know to drive safely,” she said. “No one can afford to have a traumatic incident right now. “
Minnesota health officials, however, are clinging to a silver lining that the new infections appear to be leveling off. Health officials have confirmed 4,131 new cases, bringing the cumulative number of COVID cases in Minnesota to 895,229.
The state has also reported 56 COVID-related deaths. Throughout the pandemic, the over 65s suffered the most from the disease. But Wednesday’s report included eight people aged 50 to 59 and three people aged 30 to 49.
Unvaccinated people continue to be the most at risk of hospitalization and death.
Of the nearly 3.3 million Minnesotans aged 12 and older who were fully vaccinated, about 2.5% suffered breakthrough infections, but most were protected from severe cases.
Editor-in-chief Christopher Snowbeck contributed to this report.