Dozens of Minnesota hospitals have no beds available to care for sick kids or adults right now. The Minnesota Department of Health reports more than three-quarters of the state’s ICU beds are full, and 52 hospitals can’t take any more patients at all.
According to CBS Minnesota, Dr. Dan Hoody is a chief medical officer of Hennepin Healthcare, the state’s biggest provider. He tells WCCO they can’t even take patients from smaller hospitals anymore.
“Because we have so many patients in our hospital emergency department waiting to get in the hospital, we have lost the ability and the bed capacity to safely accept many transfers from throughout the region,” Dr. Hoody said. “This is commonly us having to decline five to 50 transfers a day.”
According to the report, Gov. Tim Walz just announced this morning that he’s activating 400 members of the Minnesota National Guard to help long-term care facilities with staffing. He also wants to use $50 million in federal funds to help nursing homes with recruitment and retention.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited HCMC on Monday and says the military relief teams will be ready to work on Thanksgiving Day in Minneapolis. HCMC says they’re not just at capacity, on most days they’re overcapacity.
“What will I remember from this visit is the doctors and nurses who are simply exhausted, that are going to be working through the holidays. The least we can do for them is go out and get the vaccines,” Klobuchar said. “If you want to help a health care worker who maybe has saved the life of someone in your family, the best thing you can do is get your booster if you have already been vaccinated, or if you haven’t to get vaccinated now.”
Meanwhile, According to a new report, Michigan’s Health and Hospital Association is urging residents to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as the state approaches its highest number of hospitalized patients since the pandemic began.
The state’s hospital association on Monday issued a series of measures including masking up and getting vaccinated against the virus, to help prevent overwhelming hospitalizations. The move comes a year after Michigan faced a similar surge in cases leading up to the winter holidays.
“We are extremely concerned because our best predictions are that COVID-19 patients will continue to increase during the weeks ahead as we enter the yearly flu season,” according to the statement.
Over the previous seven days including Friday, Michigan reported 53,575 new COVID-19 cases, the highest weekly caseload since the pandemic began in March 2020. As of Sunday, 3,785 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across the state, including 784 in intensive care units. The vast majority of patients in the ICU and on ventilators, the MHA noted, are unvaccinated.
The World Health Organization’s Europe office says projections show its 53-country region could face another 700,000 deaths in the coronavirus pandemic by next spring, topping 2 million in total.
According to the Associated Press, WHO Europe, which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, also cited growing evidence of a decline in protection against infection and mild disease through vaccines, and said a “booster dose” should be given as a priority to the most vulnerable populations — including people with weakened immune systems — as well as people over age 60 and health care workers.
The U.N. health agency’s international headquarters in Geneva, however, has repeatedly called for a moratorium on the use of boosters through year-end so that doses can be made available for many developing countries that have faced a severe lack of the COVID-19 vaccines compared to the rich world.