More and more Minnesota healthcare workers are sharing stories about what it's been like working in hospitals that are treating a growing number of patients battling COVID-19, and explaining to the public that it is true that some hospitals are running out of beds and staff to treat patients.
Last week, Dr. George Morris, incident commander at CentraCare, said that one-third of all inpatients at St. Cloud Hospital in central Minnesota had COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms.
"That is an astronomical number," said Morris, adding that about one-third of those inpatients were in intensive care. According to CentraCare's website, there are 489 licensed beds at St. Cloud Hospital.
Mollie Taber, a nurse at St. Cloud Hospital, posted a lengthy message to Facebook on Sunday explaining that hospitals are full and staff has been staff stretched to the limits.
"We are short staff (by A LOT) and stretched to our limits. Staff that are able to work are stepping up and stepping into roles they aren’t familiar with. I admire every single person I’ve worked with at SCH. Amazing humans," wrote Taber.
"Hospitals are FULL. Seriously. Decisions are being made as to who gets a bed where. It’s depressing. I can’t help but think...what if that were my Dad or my Mom needing a bed (anyone I love for that matter), what if my friend gets in a car accident and needs the ICU, what if my boys get in a hunting accident and need care, and my cancer patients. Oh my poor cancer patients!!!?"
Taber's message came the day before Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz will be joined by frontline workers in another address to the state in an effort to convince people to do all they can to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
On Sunday, the state reported 7,559 new cases of COVID-19 – there were 8,703 new cases in Saturday's report – to push Minnesota's number of active cases to over 50,700. There are also more than 1,400 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota, though that number is three days outdated as the health department doesn't update hospital numbers over the weekend.
"You guys, this is spreading fast!" Taber continued, adding that "there ARE a LOT of people NOT doing OK with it" and that "it could be someone close to you soon."
"Well, at this point you’ll get a bed if the timing is right. And the staff will do the best they can with you. Exhausted, mentally strained, and stretched to the limit. THEY ARE DOING THEIR BEST!!," she continued.
"Please, if you can find it in you, rethink upcoming social plans. Can it wait? Can we bunker down for at least a couple weeks to get a grip on things? It’s the only way this will get better..."