Skip to main content

Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that the federal government will provide Minnesota with two Department of Defense medical teams to support hospitals as COVID-19 surges and further strains doctors and nurses who have been fighting the coronavirus nonstop for the past 20 months. 

"Every day, our doctors and nurses are treating Minnesotans sick with COVID-19 or suffering other emergencies. But they are under water, and they need all the help we can give them. I’m grateful the Biden Administration heeded our request and is sending in reinforcements," Walz said in a release. 

The emergency medical teams feature 22 medical personnel per team. They will arrive next week and be stationed at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital. 

"There are very, very few teams available to be deployed across the whole nation," said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, who noted that more Minnesota hospitals also need the help but getting it to them requires more teams becoming available. Malcolm said the state has submitted applications for additional help from the feds. 

As of Tuesday, there were 1,382 Minnesotans hospitalized with COVID-19 and only 47 staffed ICU beds were available in the entire state. The limited capacity prompted Walz to open a third alternative care site that will free up bed space in long-term care facilities. 

The alternative care site has been identified as Cerenity Senior Care-Marian in St. Paul, where up to 27 patients can transition from hospitals to open up bed space for patients who require higher-level care. The site will be staffed by 25 medical professionals, including 10 skilled nurses and 15 members of the Minnesota National Guard. 

The two other alternative care sites are Good Samaritan Society-Bethany in Brainerd and Benedictine St. Gertrude’s in Shakopee. 

Minnesota is the worst COVID hotspot in the country

Minnesota is currently the epicenter of the worst of COVID in the United States and the numbers are staggering when compared to the rest of the country. 

As of Nov. 9, the Minnesota Department of Health is reporting 70.9 cases per 100,000 residents in Minnesota, but that jumps to 80 per 100,000 when viewing the real-time data from the New York Times

At 80 cases per 100,000 people, Minnesota is more than triple the national rate of 26 per 100,000. The next closest is Michigan at 72, followed by New Mexico (65), North Dakota (62), New Hampshire (62) and Wisconsin (58). 

"This is a dangerous time," said Walz.

For context, health officials considered anything over 10 per 100,000 to indicate high levels of community transmission. From a micro view, the rates are even more alarming in numerous Minnesota counties. 

Per the New York Times, there are 17 counties in Minnesota with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people, led by Dodge County at a whopping 173. What's more is that from a national view, 25 of the 100 highest county case rates in the country are located in Minnesota. 

  • 3. Dodge County - 173 cases per 100,000 people
  • 8. Wadena - 149
  • 9. Goodhue - 148
  • 12. Mille Lacs - 134
  • 13. Kanabec - 132
  • 17. Sherburne - 128
  • 18. Itasca - 127
  • 23. Todd - 119
  • 26. Benton- 116
  • 28. Douglas - 114
  • 30. Wabasha - 112
  • 38. Wright - 108
  • 38. Pine - 108
  • 43. Beltrami - 107
  • 45. Meeker - 105
  • 49. Kandiyohi - 104
  • 57. Roseau - 101
  • 69. Scott - 98
  • 71. Carver - 97
  • 71. Morrison - 97
  • 80. Chisago - 95
  • 81. Isanti - 94
  • 89. Blue Earth - 93
  • 92. Otter Tail - 92
  • 99. Hubbard - 91

There are more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. and despite just 2.8% of them being in Minnesota, the state accounts for 25% of the 100 highest county case rates in the country. More: There are only 63 counties nationwide with a case rate above 100 and 17 of them are in Minnesota. 

Minnesota's test positivity rate (through Nov. 9) is 10.5%, putting the entire state in the highest risk threshold for the delta variant, which has proved to be the most contagious variant of the coronavirus to date. It's the first time Minnesota has been in the high-risk threshold since mid-December 2020. 

Also on Wednesday the Minnesota Medical Association, which comprises more than 11,000 physicians and physicians in-training, urged Minnesotans to get vaccinated and receive the booster shot if eligible. 

“We know that Minnesotans are tired of hearing this, but everyone has to do their part to slow the spread of this virus,” said MMA President Randy Rice, MD. “The best way to fight this is for more people to get vaccinated. Healthcare workers will continue to do their jobs, but we are struggling, and we need help. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, please do so, and then mask up and stay socially distant.”

According to the MMA, 70% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Minnesota are unvaccinated. 

Next Up

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

ambulance

2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Related

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, November 23

The latest info from the state health department.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, November 19

There are only 19 staffed adult ICU beds and 11 staffed pediatric ICU beds available in Minnesota, per data released Friday.

St. Cloud Hospital

Hospitals strained as COVID surges in Minnesota

CentraCare and HealthPartners have both issued statements in recent days asking for the public's help as bed availability at hospitals lessens.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, November 16

Minnesota has had its second death of a teenager from COVID-19.

covid

3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MN health leaders want prep sports halted amid COVID-19 surge

Gov. Walz said new guidance will be released "within the next day or so."

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, December 16

Hospitalizations dropped day-over-day but capacity remains very tight.

covid

MN COVID hospitalizations break 2021 record for 2nd day in a row

The state has reached levels not seen since mid-December, right when the first vaccines were administered.