905 Mayo Clinic staff diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks

The multi-state healthcare giant has been hit hard by the virus.
Publish date:

Minnesota health officials have for weeks been stressing the importance of keeping healthcare workers healthy so they can staff hospital beds that are quickly filling up with COVID-19 patients, and an update Tuesday from the Mayo Clinic reveals just how fast hospitals can be backed into a corner when staff fall ill or have to quarantine due to exposure to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Dr. Amy Williams, dean of clinical practices at Mayo Clinic, said 905 Mayo staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in just the last two weeks. 

Williams said 93% of infections weren't contracted from patients, but instead from the community. The majority of staff who were infected at work got it when their masks were off in a break room. 

“It shows you how easy it is to get COVID-19 in the Midwest,” said Williams.

The 905 new infections brings Mayo Clinic's total to 2,981 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. 

The staff shortages have raised concerns about hospital capacity. No matter how many beds are available, a bed can only be occupied if trained staff are able to work it. 

"All of our hospitals are really stretched, many are absolutely full at this time and throughout Minnesota, we are seeing an increase of hospitalizations and the need to bring up more beds for patients," said Williams. 

Gov. Tim Walz is expected to take executive action during a televised speech Wednesday at 6 p.m. and place tighter restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms and sports. 

Minnesota saw an average of approximately 2,500 new COVID-19 cases per day over the final two weeks of October, only to see the numbers spike significantly in November. Over the past week, there have been between 5,000 and 9,000 new cases confirmed each day. 

The fear – and reason for Walz's tighter restrictions – is that the explosion of new cases will lead to a similar spike in the number of people who will require hospital care in the next few weeks. There is generally a lag time of 2-3 weeks from a positive test to the point that a person requires hospitalization. 

Forecast with Novak Weather

Next Up

Adam Thielen

Vikings place Adam Thielen on COVID-19/reserve list

Thielen is coming off a two-touchdown game against the Cowboys.

MCF Oak Park Heights

COVID-positive inmate at Oak Park Heights prison dies

He becomes the fourth prison inmate to die from the virus.

Screen Shot 2020-11-23 at 1.08.19 PM

2-ton smoker stolen from Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer

Boemer is the chef behind restaurants including the popular Revival.

Governor Tim Walz

Walz says relief package is coming for Minnesota small businesses

Walz is prepared to call a special session and pass the package immediately.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Gov. Tim Walz COVID-19 press conference Monday

Walz will be introducing a new app that helps Minnesotans track COVID-19 exposures.


Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 8.35.22 AM

Mayo Clinic launches COVID-19 tracking, modeling tool

The tool will help Minnesotans better understand current trends in their county of residence.

coronavirus, covid-19

Mayo Clinic experts discuss high COVID-19 death toll projections

Just how far out can the models accurately predict the future?

coronavirus, covid-19, doctor

U of M, Mayo Clinic testing provides hope for Minnesota in COVID-19 fight

Both institutions are in the process of preparing to deploy the tests to the public.

vaccine, shot

Mayo Clinic: Vaccine distribution likely limited until 'well into the new year'

"People need to continue to mask," a Mayo Clinic spokesperson said.

Mayo clinic

Coronavirus: Mayo Clinic set to roll out antibody test next week

But it will be a while before the test is broadly available.

Screen Shot 2020-11-12 at 8.11.34 AM

Minneapolis hospital featured on NBC 'Nightly News' COVID-19 report

The feature segment comes as Minnesota hospitals are being filled with COVID-19 patients.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, November 2

There are now 774 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota.

coronavirus, ICU, COVID-19

Minnesota health officials: 'We're not done with COVID yet'

The state has seen less activity in recent weeks, but health officials don't think what they prepared for was overkill.