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Hospital, ICU bed availability limited in Twin Cities as COVID cases rise

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health say ICU beds in the Twin Cities are at 98% capacity, and 92% in greater Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS — Coronavirus cases continue to surge in the Midwest and here in Minnesota. 

“As of today, one in five ICU patients is a COVID-19 patient,” said Dr. Rahul Korrane.

Dr. Korrane, who is with the Minnesota Hospital Association, says as the number of COVID-19 patients rises in medical and surgical units across the state, area hospitals are also seeing an uptick of COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health say ICU beds in the Twin Cities are at 98% capacity and 92% in greater Minnesota. "We are about 20% full of COVID-19 patients or people with COVID-19 numbers, and that's an astounding number, for people with one disease and that number is tremendous,” says Dr. George Morris.

Dr. George Morris is a physician incident commander with Centracare – which serves the central and western regions of the state. He says there's a concern as the total number of hospitalizations related to the virus has now reached more than 11,000 – with more than 28,000 COVID-19 patients requiring ICU care. “Now, for us to have one in five patients with the same disease, that all have the same core disease,” says Morris. ”Leading to many patients requiring ICU care which leads to it being full."

Dr. Morris says the hospital group has started shifting COVID-19 patients to smaller rural hospitals and a few other ICU's in the region. "We can't send our ICU patients to Minneapolis, Duluth because they are full,” says Dr. Morris.

Health officials are now urging people to take precautions to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

Doctors say it’s normal to have an influx of patients in the ICU during fall and winter months. They’re urging people to wear masks, social distance and limit large gatherings to keep at-risk people and healthcare workers safe.