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Walz to announce 'new action' on hospital capacity, expanding rapid COVID testing

It comes as Minnesota's health system is facing its biggest COVID challenge yet.

Gov. Tim Walz will on Friday make an announcement regarding new "action" his administration will take on addressing the current pressure on Minnesota's hospital system as it deals with the surging delta COVID variant.

The governor and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm will join state healthcare leaders to address hospital capacity concerns. He will also announce an expansion of the state's "community rapid testing network."

While hospitalizations for COVID-19 are not currently at the levels seen during the peak last November and December, staffing shortages means there are fewer staffed ICU beds available now than at any point during the pandemic.

On Tuesday there were 990 people being treated in hospital for COVID, of which 260 were in the ICU. While that number has dropped slightly since then, on Wednesday there were just 48 staffed beds available in the state, and only six beds available in the entire Twin Cities metro region.

That means 99.1% of all available ICU beds are filled in the metro. Limited capacity often leads to longer waits for care and patients being diverted to areas of the state where beds and staff are available. But it is clear, healthcare facilities are stressed everywhere in Minnesota. 

Gov. Walz will speak at a 10:15 a.m. press conference. Check back at Bring Me The News for more as it happens.

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