Thirteen healthcare workers are among the 77 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Minnesota, according to data released Wednesday by the state's health department.
On that note, doctors and nurses at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis joined the growing trending of posing for a photo and holding a sign that reads: "I stayed at work for you. You stay at home for us."
Healthcare workers are among the most vulnerable people to the coronavirus, which is why the Minnesota Department of Health, citing supply limitations, is only conducting COVID-19 tests on healthcare employees, hospitalized patients and people living in "congregate settings" like a long-term care facility.
The New York Times reports that two emergency room doctors are in critical condition with the coronavirus, one doctor in Seattle and the other in New York.
Healthcare workers could become even more vulnerable to the virus should hospitals run out of protective masks.
Staying home when sick and practicing social distancing are the most important things Minnesotans can do right now, according to state health officials.
"I would say to the individuals that think – 'Oh this is not a big deal' – this is unprecedented in our state and in our country and I would really admonish them to heed our request to stay home when you're sick and take this social distancing message very seriously," said Kris Ehresmann, director of the Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention, and Control Division at the Minnesota Department of Health.
Despite only 77 positive cases confirmed in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that there are likely far more undiagnosed cases of the virus, including as many as 100 in the 1,700 samples that sit in waiting due to a lack of testing capacity.
The governor estimated that Minnesota is 8-10 days behind New York, where Wednesday's COVID-19 count reached 2,382 confirmed cases, the most in the nation.