Minnesota reported 91 deaths from COVID-19 over the weekend and a November surge has brought the state's death toll of the pandemic to 3,241.
There have been 788 deaths reported in November alone, and with nearly 2,000 people hospitalized with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the death toll will undoubtedly increase by the dozens every day in the coming weeks.
Because of the stress being put on the healthcare system, the Minnesota Hospital Association is pleading with Minnesotans to do everything possible to help.
“Our hospitals are full and we expect them to get fuller as the number of cases increase. Our healthcare heroes – the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, lab workers, aides, environmental services personnel and more – are asking you to support them by wearing a mask, physically distancing, washing your hands and laying low," said Rahul Koranne, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Minnesota Hospital Association.
Koranne says the public is the front line of defense while healthcare workers are the last line of defense.
To get their urgent message out to the public, the hospital association has launched a series of television and social media ads that will be seen widely throughout this Thanksgiving week and into December. The "FightCovidMN" campaign is blunt and to the point, as evidenced by this line in a press release sent to media:
“We are extremely concerned about the trajectory of the community spread,” said Koranne. “Our healthcare systems have thousands of care team members out with COVID, caring for a family member with COVID or home quarantining because they have been exposed in the community.
"Our hospitals care for not just patients with COIVD but other Minnesotans with trauma and illness. We urge Minnesotans to come together with grit and resolve in the next few weeks with a unified goal to reduce community transmission and protect our healthcare workers so they can remain at work and help save lives."
Among the healthcare institutions experiencing significant staffing shortages are Mayo Clinic, Allina Health and Carris Health. Combined, the trio has had around 3,000 staff unavailable to work in recent weeks due to testing positive for COVID-19, quarantining after being exposed, or taking care of family members for COVID-19-related reasons.
Minnesota is in the first week of a four-week partial shutdown of bars, restaurants, gyms, social gatherings, wedding receptions and forms of entertainment. The shutdown, which expires Dec. 18, is aimed that keeping people from gathering en masse to prevent community transmission of COVID-19.