Intensive care units are approaching capacity and health workers in Minnesota are in short supply as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have reached levels not seen since vaccines became widely available.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all counties in the state are at high risk of local transmission. According to the New York Times database, the number of new daily cases of the disease in the past two weeks has increased by 29 percent and the number of hospitalizations by 17 percent.
The state’s average daily number of cases is at its highest for 2021 and reached 2932 on Monday, a sharp increase over the summer, when it bottomed out on an average of 81 daily occurrences.
While the monthly growth caused by the Delta variant of the virus is waning across much of the country, Minnesota is just one of several Upper Midwest and Mountain West states where the virus is on the rise. Cases are on the rise and hospitals are overcrowded in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, all of which have low vaccination rates. In some areas, medical care had to be rationed and patients sent to remote hospitals for treatment.
The Minnesota Department of Health said the number of hospitals in the state has increased significantly. rural and metropolitan areas equally stretched.
“Even before this latest spike in Covid began to rise, our hospitals were overwhelmed with patients in need of treatment for other critical conditions,” State Commissioner for Health Ian Malcolm told a news conference last week.
According to the State Department of Health’s database, 96 percent of intensive care beds in Minnesota are shared with 93 percent of non-intensive care beds. Although the beds are nearly full, the state is equipped with respirators to combat this surge, Ms. Malcolm said. A more serious problem now is the lack of medical personnel, she said.
“It is important to understand that this is not so much about the physical capabilities of a hospital bed or a ventilator, and this was the focus of attention earlier during the pandemic. but now it really is a matter of the capabilities of healthcare providers, ”said Ms. Malcolm. “There are fewer health workers at work today than last year due to the high stress and burnout they have been facing for over 18 months.”
Dr. Kevin Croston, CEO of North Memorial Health, one of Minnesota’s largest medical systems, said that “every element of our healthcare system is under incredible stress.”
Both North Memorial-operated hospitals – North Memorial in Robbinsdale and Maple Grove Hospital – are nearly overwhelmed and are experiencing critical staff shortages.
“Employee vacancies are increasing while our clients’ patient numbers remain high,” said Mr. Croston. “We have rapidly strengthened our efforts to attract and retain talent in the healthcare sector, and this increases the cost of an already tense financial picture for all of these healthcare systems.”
He also noted that all patients hospitalized with Covid were not vaccinated.
In Minnesota, 59 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, compared with 56 percent of the nation’s population.
“Given the amount of the virus that exists and the population that is not protected by the vaccine, the virus, unfortunately, still has a lot of room to stop it. harm him, ”said Ms. Malcolm.