The Walz Administration has signed a lease agreement to open an "alternate care site" in Roseville that would handle low-level, non-coronavirus medical cases in the event hospitals run out of capacity.
Gov. Tim Walz and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) finalized the agreement that will see Presbyterian Homes-Langton Place handle any overflow treatment in the event Twin Cities hospitals reach their capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The facility will be a place patients can receive "low-level medical care or monitoring," but will not be used for walk-up medical care, and would not handle any COVID-19 cases.
It will only be used in the event that hospitals in the region need to make space for critical care. Currently, 936 ICU beds in Minnesota are in use, of which 119 are coronavirus patients, with Minnesota having a capacity of 1,244 ICU beds, which can increase to 2,581 within 72 hours.
"Minnesotans deserve as much peace of mind as we can give them during this pandemic, and signing this lease is another way we’ve made good use of the time Minnesotans have bought us by staying home and slowing the spread of COVID-19," said Governor Walz.
"By setting up this alternate care site in Roseville, our team is making sure that – should it ever be needed – our hospitals have the capacity they need to treat all patients who need care."
Walz and the State Emergency Operations Center has been looking for possible sites that could handle overflow patients in the event hospitals are dealing with a coronavirus surge.
However, it's noted that facilities like the one in Roseville will only be used after individual hospitals have already used their own expansion capacity.
"Should those capacities be reached, hospitals would work with patients to identify those who could be safely transferred to alternate care sites in order to free up hospital space to treat COVID-19 patients," a press release states.
"The transferred patients would then continue their treatment or recovery in the alternate care site."
"Patients belong in a hospital as much as possible for as long as possible to keep people comfortable,” said State Healthcare Coordination Center (SHCC) Manager Dr. John Hick.
"If the alternate care site is needed, it will mirror hospital spaces, which is why we prioritized sites like Presbyterian Homes-Langton Shores, which has some of this infrastructure already in place, over larger open-space community facilities."