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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday a third federal emergency medical team is on its way to Minnesota. A staff of 14 doctors and nurses from the Department of Human Services will arrive at M Health Fairview Southdale in Edina on Friday. READ MORE: Experts Still Learning About Omicron; Minnesota Case Detected Early Due To Virus Surveillance SystemThe medical teams are providing support during the surge of COVID-19 cases and ongoing hospital staffing shortages. A group from the U.S. Air Force started their work this week at St. Cloud Hospital. WCCO went along for one of their shifts. On the fifth floor of St. Cloud Hospital, Jim James is close to going home after a stay that began Monday. “We thought he was having a heart attack so we called an ambulance,” said his daughter, Cindy James. It was sepsis that had the 87-year-old waiting five hours for an open bed and for a doctor from 1,200 miles away. “He did not have COVID, and he needed immediate action and we got it,” James said. Dr. Ben Dahlberg,...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On the same day officials announced the Omicron variant of COVID-19 was detected in Minnesota for the first time, Gov. Tim Walz said more federal help is coming to the state’s hospitals. Walz’s office said the Department of Health and Human Services will send a team of doctors, nurses and hospital staff to M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina. The team will arrive Friday to “support COVID-19 treatment and patient care.” READ MORE: Experts Still Learning About Omicron; Minnesota Case Detected Early Due To Virus Surveillance SystemFederal teams are already assisting at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital. As of Wednesday, there were 345 COVID-19 patients occupying intensive care unit beds in Minnesota, along with 1,204 patients in non-ICU beds. READ MORE: 'A Boost At The Right Time': Federal Teams Help Minnesota Hospitals Overwhelmed By COVIDThe Minnesota Department of Health announced Thursday it found the Omicron variant in a specimen from a Minnesotan who recently returned from an Anime convention in New York City. The Hennepin County man had “mild symptoms” that have since...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Holiday travelers are now on the move, and before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 3,759 new cases of COVID-19 and 53 deaths. In all, Minnesota has recorded 891,099 COVID-19 cases and 9,282 deaths. There have been 9,997 instances of reinfection. The positivity rate has been rising as of late, and sits at 11% as of last week. It’s above the 10% “high risk” threshold, and new daily cases per 100,000 residents is last reported at 74.9. The high risk line for that figure is at 10. As people gather for Thanksgiving, health officials are encouraging vaccinations and booster shots. Last week, the FDA and CDC authorized booster doses for all adults six months after completing a Pfizer or Moderna series, or two months after receiving the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Vaccine experts tell WCCO that Minnesota is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases right now because so many got their vaccines early, and the protection offered by the shots dwindles over time. Minnesota has administered over 904,000 booster doses and 7.6 million...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An emergency military medical team is on the ground in Minneapolis in a battle against COVID-19, which is surging in Minnesota and fueling a crisis of critical care access in hospitals across the state. Two deployments from the U.S. Department of Defense are providing relief at Hennepin County Medical Center and St. Cloud Hospital. The aid comes as hospitals are at or near capacity as they grapple with the virus sickening patients and others with critical care needs. READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: Health Officials Encourage Adults To Get Booster DoseThe way Hennepin County Medical Center measures acuity of care, known as the “case mix index,” is the highest it’s ever been at the hospital, said Jennifer DeCubellis, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare. “It’s consistent, which tells us that the individuals within our walls are individuals that are incredibly sick and require larger teams often to care for them,” DeCubellis said. The teams of 23 will be operational by Thanksgiving Day; in Minneapolis, that’s four doctors, 14 nurses, two respiratory therapists and three administrators. Most of them are...
    Originally published Nov. 22, 2021 MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Federal emergency relief teams from the U.S. Department of Defense are on their way to Minnesota to help doctors and nurses at two Minnesota hospitals. When the rest of the state is celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, they’ll be fighting the state’s COVID-19 surge. READ MORE: 'People Lined Up Out The Doors And They’re Sick': COVID Patient Bottleneck Has Many Minnesotans DesperateThe shortage of ICU beds is so severe, doctors warn emergency care across the state is being compromised. Hennepin Healthcare says they are turning down up to 50 transfer requests a day for their advanced trauma facilities, as Minnesota grapples with one of the worst infection rates in the country. “If you get into a car accident in rural Minnesota and are in need of complex trauma care, the additional 12 to 24 hours you have to wait for a bed to open up might mean the difference in long-term functional outcomes,” Dr. Daniel Hoody said. “If you are critically ill with non-COVID illness or COVID illness in a rural hospital not...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Dozens of Minnesota hospitals have no beds available to care for sick kids or adults right now. The Minnesota Department of Health reports more than three quarters of the state’s ICU beds are full, and 52 hospitals can’t take any more patients at all. READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: Nat'l Guard Arrives As Hospitals Are Overrun With COVID CasesDr. Dan Hoody is chief medical officer of Hennepin Healthcare, the state’s biggest provider. He tells WCCO they can’t even take patients from smaller hospitals anymore. “Because we have so many patients in our hospital emergency department waiting to get in the hospital, we have lost the ability and the bed capacity to safely accept many transfers from throughout the region,” Dr. Hoody said. “This is commonly us having to decline five to 50 transfers a day.” Capacity remains a big concern heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. WCCO found how a COVID-19 surge and staffing shortages have left families in need of a hospital bed struggling to find one. When Christy Feist’s daughter woke up Saturday, she knew Annika...
    The Pentagon is sending emergency medical teams to major hospitals in Minnesota to relieve doctors as the state deals with a surge in coronavirus infections, Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzMinneapolis votes down measure replacing police department Minnesota Gov. Walz launches reelection bid Minnesota to offer 0 gift cards, scholarships as vaccine incentives to kids MORE (D) said Wednesday.  The medical teams — each with 22 medical personnel — will arrive next week and immediately begin treating patients at the Hennepin County Medical Center and St. Cloud Hospital, Walz’s office said in a statement. Walz said the teams will provide “an important measure of relief to the healthcare personnel who remain on the frontline of this crisis.” “Every day, our doctors and nurses are treating Minnesotans sick with COVID-19 or suffering other emergencies. But they are under water, and they need all the help we can give them,” the governor said. “I’m grateful the Biden Administration heeded our request and is sending in reinforcements.” The Hill has reached out to the Pentagon for further comment.  The move comes as the state’s hospitals come...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Top state leaders on Wednesday announced that medical teams from the federal government are being sent to support Minnesota hospitals during the current COVID-19 surge. Gov. Tim Walz says the federal government accepted his “urgent request” for emergency staffing assistance, and will now be sending two Department of Defense medical teams. READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 46 More Deaths Reported; More Than 1,380 Currently HospitalizedThe emergency staffing teams, with 22 medical personnel each, will be supporting staff at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital. They’re expected to arrive next week. “Hospitals around the state need urgent support, and my Administration is using every tool at our disposal to help them,” Walz said. “The emergency staffing teams coming to HCMC and St. Cloud Hospital over the next few days will provide an important measure of relief to the healthcare personnel who remain on the frontline of this crisis. Every day, our doctors and nurses are treating Minnesotans sick with COVID-19 or suffering other emergencies. But they are under water, and they need all...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As COVID-19 cases surge in Minnesota, hospitals are stretched thin for patients needing immediate care. Nearly every ICU bed in the state is currently in use. On Monday, 1,125 ICU beds were in use of the 1,158 capacity. Itasca County Public Health posted a letter on Facebook warning of a serious strain on area hospitals. County health officials asking residents to do everything they can to stay healthy in the coming weeks to avoid needing critical care. READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: State Has Worst 7-Day Case Rate In Country, CDC Says“We are seeing more patients now than we ever have before on the hospital side,” Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital CEO Jean MacDonell said. MacDonell said, while the number of COVID-19 patients is up, they are also seeing patients for other issues. She said patients have also delayed care during the pandemic and now are coming in sicker. ER wait times have been particularly impacted during this surge. “We have had wait times of four to five hours in recent weeks as we have this surge...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hospitals across the state are making a desperate plea for the public’s help as COVID-19 cases hit an all-time high this year. It’s considered Minnesota’s fourth wave in the ongoing battle against the virus. But hospital beds are filling up in places they never did before. READ MORE: 'Denied Without Any Questions': Health Care Workers Sue Minnesota Hospital Over Vaccine MandateAs WCCO explains why finding a bed is growing more difficult by the day. — Katie Kruzel, an registered nurse at CentreCare in Saux Centre. doesn’t sugarcoat the situation. “It’s really hard right now,” Kruzel said, adding: “It’s tough, because it’s a lot of preventable illness.” Surrounded by counties lagging behind in vaccination rates, CentraCare’s eight hospitals are pleading with the public to get the shot, to social distance and mask up to protect against a more potent Delta variant. For the last month, the hospital’s made room for twice as many patients as they typically see since other seasonal sickness hasn’t stopped. Dr. Bret Haake, the chief medical officer at Regions Hospital, updated the...
    SAUK CENTRE, Minn. (WCCO) — Climbing COVID-19 cases are taking a toll on small Minnesota hospitals. Doctors in some rural parts of the state says it’s the worst they’ve seen it. WCCO traveled to Sauk Centre where finding a hospital bed to get better for weeks has been a struggle. READ MORE: 'Denied Without Any Questions': Health Care Workers Sue Minnesota Hospital Over Vaccine MandateSusan Rutten has spent the last five days at CentraCare’s Sauk Centre hospital with COVID-19. The 65-year-old says she didn’t know what to believe when it came to the vaccine. “I was torn between some people telling me to, some people telling me not to,” Rutten said. With the help of monoclonal antibodies, she felt OK for about a week. Until her oxygen levels started falling. Her message now? “Get the vaccination. Stay out of the hospital,” Rutten said. Rutten is one of seven people with the virus staying at CentraCare, a hospital that usually keeps five to six people with a variety of issues. For the last month, they’ve been seeing twice that. Dr....
                        Several Minnesota ER doctors shared their concerns and frustrations over the growing inability of larger local hospitals to accept trauma patients. One Minnesota emergency room doctor who preferred to remain anonymous said that the impact of lack of staffing is much larger than anyone might realize. The anonymous emergency room doctor said notices regarding hospitals being open or closed to transfers get sent out to Minnesota healthcare providers through a system called MNTrac. The doctor said in their experience, most of the time the state’s three biggest hospitals, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), Regions Hospital, and North Memorial have been closed to transfers recently. The doctor shared that HCMC has been closed to transfer patients for about two weeks now. The anonymous emergency room doctor told The Minnesota Sun that in the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the state had a plan and even implemented expansions to hospitals that ended up being unneeded. Now, there is a lack of proper state response to the crisis. The doctor told...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota is taking more steps to fight this latest COVID-19 surge. Hospitalizations are at another high at a time when space and staffing are low. On Friday, state health leaders will announce a number of new measures to tackle hospital capacity worries. READ MORE: COVID In Minnesota: 25 More Deaths Reported, And Another Nearly 3,000 New CasesHospitals like North Memorial Medical Center are treating COVID-19 patients as case numbers continue to climb around the state. Currently, the Delta variant is surging. Total ICU bed usage among COVID-19 patients was recently reported at 255. Additionally, there are currently 728 COVID-19 patients being hospitalized in non-ICU beds. For the last weeks, daily reports from the Minnesota Department of Health have included double-digit figures when it comes to new deaths due to COVID. On Wednesday, for example, the state added 25 new deaths to the overall toll. The MDH reports none of those who died were vaccinated. The rate of deaths being reported is roughly double what it was a month ago. In addition to addressing hospital capacity limits, the...
    In the Star Tribune, Glenn Howatt writes: “Minnesota hospitals are finding it increasingly difficult to admit new patients and discharge existing ones amid a record 2021 surge of COVID-19 and other cases. In addition to cases usually seen in the fall, such as asthma, hospitals are grappling with a high number of trauma patients, an unexpected wave of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections typically seen in the winter as well as nearly 900 COVID-19 patients. … The pressure on hospitals that began in the metro area in July has spread to facilities large and small statewide.” Says Christopher Magan of the Pioneer Press, “The number of Minnesota schools reporting coronavirus outbreaks jumped 74% over last week with more than 400 school buildings reporting outbreaks to the state Department of Health. Schools with COVID-19 cases have steadily grown since the academic year began. A month ago, just six buildings had reported five or more cases in students or staff. Both Dakota and Washington counties have 19 buildings with outbreaks and Ramsey has 14 schools reporting outbreaks. School-age children have the highest...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Testing for COVID-19 is up dramatically this month, as Minnesotans comply with requirements for work, school and travel and cases have been on the rise. But where people choose to get tested is creating some problems. READ MORE: COVID Booster Shots Now Available At Mall Of AmericaParents are packing the emergency room at Children’s Minnesota for routine COVID-19 tests. The hospital says its ERs are filled with COVID-19 and RSV cases. It’s asking families seeking routine COVID-19 tests to “go to local retail pharmacies or one of the many Minnesota Department of Health sites.” Overall testing is up in the wake of the Delta variant surge. On June 29, the state recorded almost 8,000 COVID-19 tests. Three months later on Sept. 29, there were more than 33,000 tests. Grace Taylor got tested at the Minneapolis Convention Center because she has symptoms. “It went really smoothly, you just walked in,” Taylor said. READ MORE: After 18 Months, Theater In Minneapolis Makes A Comeback, And Downtown Restaurants RejoiceBarb Atkinson got tested because her teen daughter’s school friend has COVID-19....
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While federal health officials discuss COVID-19 vaccine booster shot advisability, health officials in Minnesota on Wednesday reported 1,642 additional virus cases and 14 more deaths. The update from the Minnesota Department of Health puts the total reported cases at 692,029 and deaths attributed to the virus at 8,025 since the pandemic began. Surging cases due to the Delta variant have been accompanied by rising hospitalizations. As of Tuesday, there are 214 patients with the virus requiring intensive care unit beds, with an additional 580 patients needing non-ICU beds. That’s compared to less than 100 total COVID patients seen in mid-July. The latest positivity rate, a seven-day rolling average, is down slightly at 6.8% as of Sept. 14, due to data lag. The state was seeing a positivity rate at 7.1% earlier in September. Vaccinations continue with 147,319 administered so far in September. Overall in Minnesota, nearly 70% of those 16 years of age and up have been fully inoculated, including 91% of seniors.   More On WCCO.com: Antoine Suggs Charged With...
    The AP reports: “Attorneys asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss a new manslaughter charge against the former suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright during a traffic stop this spring. Former Brooklyn Center Officer Kim Potter says she mistakenly drew her firearm instead of her stun gun as Wright was trying to drive away from officers during the stop in April. Potter is recorded on body-camera video an instant after the shooting saying she drew the wrong weapon. Potter is white. Wright was Black. His death sparked several nights of protests. Prosecutors charged her with second-degree manslaughter. Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office later took over the case, added a count of first-degree manslaughter earlier this month. Potter is scheduled to stand trial in December.  The second-degree manslaughter charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison; first-degree has a maximum 15-year sentence.” In the Pioneer Press, Bill Salisbury writes: “After Minnesota House Democrats voted Tuesday night to expel him from their caucus, state Rep. John Thompson of St. Paul announced Wednesday that he will continue...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The COVID-19 pandemic has been an 18-month grind that’s only become more grueling for health care workers, so much so that their numbers are dwindling. “It’s taken a toll and there are fewer staff in most of our institutions than there have been for a long time,” said Jan Malcolm, the Minnesota Department of Health commissioner. She cited burnout and stress as two key reasons. Other health care experts mentioned workers catching COVID-19 and needing to quarantine, as well as family needs at home forcing them to step away. READ MORE: Health Officials Debut New App Offering Minnesotans Quick Access To Vaccine Records A spokesperson for Hennepin Healthcare said, “Like other hospitals throughout the state, HCMC has been experiencing higher than average patient volumes that are greatly impacted by staffing shortages, COVID, a busy trauma season, and an increase in high-acuity patients.” Allina Health is also weathering a drop in staff, so much so that it is now delaying some elective surgeries up to 90 days because of the issue, so long as the delay has no...
                        A statement from the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) condemns the COVID vaccination mandates that have been rolling out in many Minnesota hospitals. The statement said that they believe that “voluntary vaccination programs” along with putting measures in place to keep staff and patients healthy are the most “optimal.” The press release was written on September 8, prior to the Biden administration’s official stance on mandatory vaccinations for all hospitals and healthcare centers that take Medicare or Medicaid insurance came out on September 9. According to its statement, “The Minnesota Nurses Association believes that voluntary vaccination programs along with other essential infection control measures such as optimal personal protective equipment, contact tracing, rapid testing and results, adequate staffing, hygiene, environmental controls, isolation policies, and paid COVID leave for healthcare workers who need to quarantine are the most effective strategy for a healthy population and that all those who can be vaccinated should be.” The association said it believes “that hospitals and other healthcare institutions have a responsibility to provide...
    Sign up here to get our updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage. On Tuesdays, MinnPost provides weekly updates that cover COVID-19 developments in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to present.  This week in COVID-19 news In the midst of the Minnesota State Fair, COVID-19 cases continue to tick upward and hospitals are feeling the strain. MDH reported Tuesday 92.7 percent of the state’s intensive care beds are in use, as are 91 percent of non-ICU beds. While that’s not entirely due to COVID-19, the pandemic is still a significant cause of hospitalization in the state. MPR News reported Monday hospitals across the state say they have staff shortages, too. (In Louisiana, hospitals full of COVID-19 patients have made challenges posed by Hurricane Ida even more difficult.) Gov. Tim Walz said Tuesday morning that 1,199 people have received a vaccine dose at the fair. People who get their first dose of a vaccine at the fair can get a $100 Visa gift card. Health officials say they...
                        While COVID hype and fear is pushed on the American population, Minnesota’s ICU bed capacity continues to decline. Government officials, news outlets, and influencers are encouraging Minnesotans to get vaccinated to stay out of the ICU, citing Minnesota’s “93% full ICUs.” A nurse at Allina’s United Hospital in St. Paul says ER wait times are hours long and beds are extremely scarce. State data shows 93% of Minnesota’s ICU beds are in use. pic.twitter.com/NPD3OSevzv — David Schuman (@david_schuman) August 23, 2021 Fear of contracting COVID and ending up in the ICU has been pushed by much of the mainstream media, reporting that Minnesota hospitals are “at 95% capacity” and saying the latest COVID surge is overwhelming the healthcare system in Minnesota. However, that’s not the whole story. The number of staffed and available ICU beds has been steadily falling for the last year and a half, down nearly 1,000 total beds from almost one year ago in October 2020. Minnesota ICU bed availability fell significantly from May...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota health care leaders say they’re struggling right now with the surge from the COVID-19 delta variant. As hospital beds continue to fill up, the strain on the system is affecting both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. READ MORE: Downtown Minneapolis Cafe To Require Proof Of Vaccination, Negative Test To Dine Inside State data shows the surge is smaller as of yet than previous ones during the pandemic. But Kate Mudrey-Wilsman, an ICU nurse at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, says the patients she’s treating are younger than they’ve ever been — and being hospitalized for longer. She says every COVID-19 patient in her ICU is unvaccinated, except one. “It’s not anything that we can see the end, you know, in sight yet,” Mudrey-Wilsman said. “It’s continuing and continuing and everybody’s exhausted.” One of Mudrey-Wilsman’s patients is a 36-year-old unvaccinated woman. “[She] has no other underlying health conditions … and has been here now for about a week and she’s on a ventilator,” she said. Taken as a whole, there are enough beds in Minnesota right now to...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You don’t have to look far to find a place in need of workers. But the pandemic has hit the healthcare industry especially hard. From paramedics to nurses, there are hundreds of openings at one Twin Cities hospital alone. North Memorial Health is getting creative in welcoming new workers onboard, according to Talent Acquisition Manager Allison Gibbons. READ MORE: Minnesota Drought: Rivers In Western, Northern MN Seeing Less Than 10% Of Their Average Flow “We’re having a job fair here today for North Memorial,” Gibbons said. A more typical setting for students in search of a college or a career, Thursday became a tool in the hunt for healthcare workers. “We know over the last year with the pandemic it’s been a struggle. We have a high level of open positions right now,” Gibbons said. North Memorial has more than 400 jobs to fill — the most the health system has ever seen. Jen Shaft is the emergency department nurse manager. “It’s just been nonstop, it’s been so busy, people are just getting exhausted,” Shaft said. Managers...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two weeks ago, there were 19 patients in Minnesota ICU beds. That number has since tripled and health experts fear it will only get worse. “When I say now they’re coming in sicker than ever, I mean it,” said Mary Turner, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association and a COVID-19 ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center. READ MORE: Canadian Wildfires Bring Smoke To Minnesota Concerning Experts She says over the past week or two she’s seen things pick up. “Intubating somebody was kind of the last resort. Putting a breath tube down them, kind of a last resort. Nope. Now they come in the emergency room, they come into our floor, and they’re right away intubated on their stomachs,” said Turner. “Covid is back stronger than ever.” Chief Medical Officer at Alomere Health in Alexandria Dr. Deb Dittberner is seeing similar occurrences in her hospitals. “We have gone from five active cases in the county six days ago to 38 this morning,” said Dittberner. “I think it will double in the next seven days.” “People are getting sicker...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota mother is questioning the visitor policy at one metro hospital after a terrifying accident nearly took her son’s life on the Fourth of July. John Butler, 28, was sitting on the tailgate of a friend’s truck when witnesses say a sudden acceleration and braking on a cabin road led to a life-threatening head injury. READ MORE: Gov. Walz Signs Executive Order Restricting Conversion Therapy In Minnesota He was airlifted from Princeton to North Memorial Health hospital in Robbinsdale for treatment. Jane Butler is his mother. “His injuries were bleeding of the brain, bruising of the brain, shattered cheek, broken collar bone and cracked and fractured ribs,” Jane said. Hours later, his family was told to pick two people as visitors for the length of his hospitalization. “You’re not thinking rational, you’re just kind of beside yourself,” Jane said. John’s wife and his dad, Steve Range — who lives near the hospital — were designated. “Not really thinking that this was forever, permanent, I could never see him,” his mom added. John and Jane Butler (credit:...
    Joe Carlson writes in the Star Tribune: “Hospitals and nursing homes around Minnesota are not mandating that employees get the COVID-19 vaccine — yet. Following a closely watched legal battle over a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for staff at a Houston health system — a battle that the hospital won — no hospital or nursing home in Minnesota has imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on its workers, people in the industry say. Though vaccine mandates appear legal, trade groups representing hospitals and nursing homes in the state are not urging their members to implement them now. The Minnesota Department of Health hasn’t taken a position.” KARE 11’s Charmain Nero reports: “George Floyd’s murder prompted outcry across the country, with many people taking to the streets demanding justice. Now, more than two months after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted, people following the case are preparing for his sentencing Friday afternoon. ‘What’s been happening in the last two months is that both lawyers have written memos about what they think the sentencing should be,’ said former Hennepin County Chief Public...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Right now, blood banks are desperate for donors. There is a severe blood shortage nationwide, including here in Minnesota. This shortage is due to a rise in trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries. The American Red Cross is looking for donors of all blood types, especially type O and those giving platelets, to donate. At one of the Red Cross donation sites in Bloomington, they say some of their most common donors are frontline healthcare workers, who are seeing this shortage firsthand and want to play their part in helping their patients. While we were at this drive here we saw one of the Red Cross employees decide to donate. “Usually in the summer, we struggle in general, but this year is worse than before,” said Alyssa Tessmer, who works for the Red Cross and felt she needed to donate Friday to help the cause. “Coming out of the pandemic it’s been really hard, a lot of backlogs of surgeries, it’s been really bad and it’s getting worse. When you say severe…sometimes there’s not even a full...
    BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say 5 patients were wounded in Minnesota clinic attack and were taken to hospitals. Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.
    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota hospitals are criticizing the state's coronavirus vaccine distribution system as inequitable, leaving some clinics and hospitals without doses for older, vulnerable patients. The Minnesota Hospital Association, in a letter to state Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, said some clinics haven't received vaccine doses in days. “Despite our ongoing partnership and our tireless efforts to work in concert with the state, we believe the vaccine allocation process has reached an untenable crossroads,” wrote the association’s President Dr. Rahul Koranne. Initially, the hospitals served as hubs for vaccine distribution, giving the majority of doses to give to staff and then to health care providers unaffiliated with a hospital system. In January, the state opened up vaccinations to people 65 and older with most Minnesota hospitals focusing on their most elderly patients first, leaving many people between 65 and 75 to rely exclusively on the state’s vaccination sites for shots. Those appointments are secured through a lottery system set up by the state, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. “The lottery system is hurting patients and communities...
    For MPR, Catherine Rickert says: “A coalition of Minnesota’s hospitals says the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution system is hurting patients, and is asking the state Health Department give more shots to health care providers. In a letter to Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm, the Minnesota Hospital Association wrote that some clinics haven’t received doses in days, leaving them unable to vaccinate its oldest, most vulnerable patients. ‘Despite our ongoing partnership and our tireless efforts to work in concert with the state, we believe the vaccine allocation process has reached an untenable crossroads,’ wrote the association’s President Dr. Rahul Koranne. ‘The lottery system is hurting patients and communities and allocations to health care providers must increase.’” In the Pioneer Press, Nick Ferraro writes: “Gov. Tim Walz on Friday issued an executive order authorizing the Minnesota National Guard to provide public safety help to Minneapolis and St. Paul during the upcoming trials of the former Minneapolis officers involved in the death of George Floyd. The move comes after officials from both cities urged Walz to call upon National Guard members to provide a...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Extra ambulances are on the way to help Minnesota hospitals overrun by COVID-19 patients. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says the vehicles — provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency — will begin rolling into the state Friday at 8 a.m. from Camp Ripley near Little Falls. The plan is to have them in the state for at least two weeks, but that may be extended. . More On WCCO.com: MDH Reports Nearly 8K More Infections, 72 Deaths | New Restrictions Suspect In Minnesota State Trooper Assault Captured On St. John’s University Campus List Of Restaurants Ready To Step In To Cook Your Thanksgiving Meal This Year The 25 ambulances, each with FEMA-provided staff, will move patients between hospitals for at least two weeks. Ten of the ambulances are designated for advanced life support, and the other 15 are for basic life support. Hospitals will first contact local ambulance providers, and if they aren’t available, the FEMA ambulances will then respond. Ambulance workers have been bearing the brunt of healthcare job losses in Minnesota since the...
    Sign up here to get our daily updates on coronavirus in Minnesota delivered straight to your inbox each afternoon. And go here to see all of MinnPost’s COVID-19 coverage. MinnPost provides updates on coronavirus in Minnesota Sunday through Friday. The information is published following a press phone call with members of the Walz administration or after the release of daily COVID-19 figures by the Minnesota Department of Health. Here are the latest updates from November 19, 2020: 249,906 cases; 3,082 deaths Health leaders say the hospitals systems risk overload Walz says he should have put new regulations on earlier 249,906 cases; 3,082 deaths Seventy-two more Minnesotans have died of COVID-19, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday, a single-day record for deaths in the pandemic. There have been 3,082 deaths throughout the pandemic, including 625 so far in November. Of the people whose deaths were announced Thursday, 27 were in their 90s, 19 were in their 80s, 15 were in their 70s, nine were in their 60s, one was in their 40s and one was in their 30s....
    By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A registered nurse who cares for COVID-19 patients at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis said Monday the pandemic is taking a toll on front-line workers, and she joined the governor and state health officials in urging people to alter behaviors and skip Thanksgiving gatherings as the pandemic pushes hospitals to their limits. Kelley Anaas said her ICU filed up with critically ill COVID-19 patients over the weekend. Some came from around the state and had to wait hours for an ambulance or medical helicopter. She said she and her colleagues intubated more patients than they transferred to other floors, and said goodbye to patients they'd been treating for weeks. “Up until nine months ago, ‘nurse’ was my only professional title. Suddenly I had earned a new designation, ‘front-line worker,'" Anaas said. "Honestly, I’ve always found this name laughable as it implies there’s a second line of us waiting in the wings — Minnesota, we are your only line.” As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state, Gov. Tim Walz warned that...
    The white stuff. MPR’s Paul Huttner writes: “Here’s an update on our still evolving winter storm across the Upper Midwest. Winter storm warnings cover a big swath of Minnesota from the southwest through the Twin Cities into northwest Wisconsin. Ice storm warnings cover parts of southern Minnesota. … The heaviest snowburst for the Twin Cities will likely occur between the hours of 5 and 10 p.m. Tuesday. Heavier snow will persist in northwest Wisconsin and along the North Shore through midnight into the early a.m. hours Wednesday.” It could happen here. The Fargo Forum’s Jeremy Turley reports: “North Dakota’s hospitals have reached their limit, and the coming weeks could push them past their capabilities, Gov. Doug Burgum said at a news conference on Monday, Nov. 9. … Due to a major shortage of health care staffing, the state’s hospitals have a severe lack of available beds.  … In an attempt to alleviate some of the staffing concerns, Burgum announced that interim State Health Officer Dirk Wilke has amended an order that will allow health care workers with asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to...
    Osterholm called in. WCCO reports: “A University of Minnesota professor and infectious disease expert will be advising President-Elect Joe Biden as he prepares to take on COVID-19 while in the White House. … CBS News has learned that Dr. Michael Osterholm, an expert in tracking the worldwide spread of the virus, will be named Monday to Biden’s COVID-19 task force.” Minnesota women on Kamala Harris’ speech. KSTP’s Eric Rasmussen reports: “In the hours after a tight presidential race was called in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, the significance and symbolism of the moment was felt from Washington, D.C. to the Twin Cities. … On Sunday, five Minnesota women shared their reactions to the reality that Harris will be the first woman and the first person of color to become vice president of the United States. … ‘When she walked out last night, I just bawled. I was bawling,’ said former Minnesota State Rep. Erin Maye Quade.” On the youth vote. The Star Tribune’s Zoë Jackson reports: “At a small, tight-knit private university in Winona,...
    Says the Star Tribune’s Joe Carlson, “As COVID-19 cases in Minnesota continue to surge, some Minnesota hospitals and health care providers are asking employees with ‘higher-risk’ exposure to the disease to return to work before their quarantines end. The requests are forcing health care workers to choose between following the state guidance of quarantining for 14 days after virus exposure or going back to the job sooner than that. State officials say isolating for two weeks is highly recommended, but voluntary.” At MPR, David Montgomery says, “Democrat Joe Biden’s wins in Midwestern states including Minnesota were fueled by huge turnout from urban counties — suspiciously huge, according to off-base musings from some supporters of President Donald Trump. … Critics say those numbers seem implausibly high and imply that some sort of fraud is a more likely explanation. These critiques are off-base for two reasons: First, they don’t provide any context. It can seem implausible that Hennepin County had 755,604 votes in 2020 — 90.4 percent of its 835,446 registered voters. But that’s not unique. Hennepin County’s turnout as a share...
            by Scott McClallen   Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday requested staffing support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for long-term care facilities and hospitals. “Minnesota’s case counts are on the rise, which means the need for staffing support will continue to increase,” Walz wrote in a letter to FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor. “Securing this additional staffing support, in addition to extending the current staffing support on the ground in Minnesota, would significantly assist our state during this tenuous time.” Walz requested an additional 10 medical professionals to be sent to short-staffed facilities to help the state combat rising cases of COVID-19 and a 30-day extension of existing federal support. For months, the state has attempted to reduce the number of deaths in long-term care facilities across the state – the hardest hit population from COVID-19. For months, the state has attempted to reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. COVID-19 has killed 2,530 Minnesotans. Long-term care residents accounted for 1,760, or 70%, of the states COVID-19 deaths. The novel coronavirus has disproportionately harmed older people....
    Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday requested staffing support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for long-term care facilities and hospitals. “Minnesota’s case counts are on the rise, which means the need for staffing support will continue to increase,” Walz wrote in a letter to FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor. “Securing this additional staffing support, in addition to extending the current staffing support on the ground in Minnesota, would significantly assist our state during this tenuous time.” Walz requested an additional 10 medical professionals to be sent to short-staffed facilities to help the state combat rising cases of COVID-19 and a 30-day extension of existing federal support. For months, the state has attempted to reduce the number of deaths in long-term care facilities across the state – the hardest hit population from COVID-19. For months, the state has attempted to reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. COVID-19 has killed 2,530 Minnesotans. Long-term care residents accounted for 1,760, or 70%, of the states COVID-19 deaths. The novel coronavirus has disproportionately harmed older...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A day after Minnesota broke a daily record for new COVID-19 cases, state health officials on Thursday announced Minnesota has done it again — reporting 3,956 additional coronavirus cases and 25 more deaths. According to Minnesota Department of Health, more than 34,000 tests were processed in the last 24 hours, including 2,512 antigen tests. 31793 So far, 2,555 people have died because of the virus. The vast majority of the deaths – 1,777 – have occurred in long-term care facilities. MORE: MDH’s COVID-19 Situation Update A total of 164,865  cases have been confirmed in the state since March. Of those, 137,824 people no longer need to self-isolate. More than 11,000 people have needed treatment in Minnesota hospitals. On Wednesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced he’s requesting federal support for hospitals and long-term care facilities. The request would provide an additional 10 medical professionals to facilities experiencing staff shortages due to the spike in COVID-19 cases. According to the state’s Dial Back Dashboard, Minnesota’s seven-day positivity rate has risen to 9% as of Oct. 27, up 2% in the...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Health leaders warn that Minnesota is nearing the “explosive growth” in COVID-19 cases seen in neighboring states. Minnesota set a new daily record Thursday of 2,872 cases, and Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm expects that record to soon be broken. More people are in Minnesota hospitals with COVID right now than at any other point during the pandemic. “[The phrase] ‘Flatten the curve’ has to come back,” said Helen Strike, the president of both Regina Hospital and River Falls Hospital in the Allina Health system. Dr. Haylee Veazey, who works in emergency and primary care for Hennepin Healthcare, says the numbers are scary. Malcolm called them alarming. Veazey says more sick patients are coming into the hospital now than earlier this year. “We have kind of a red status for a few areas and yellow status for a few others, so I think it’s probably best to categorize that as we’re feeling fuller,” she said. Malcolm says the surge isn’t from one or two big events, but from thousands of smaller, individual decisions. “The more community spread there...
    For the Star Tribune, Joe Carlson says, “Hundreds of thousands of patients and donors to Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health hospitals are getting letters saying some of their personal data may have been exposed in the second-largest health care data breach in state history. The growing list of those affected includes more than 160,000 patients and donors at Children’s Minnesota, and more than 200,000 patients and donors from Allina Health hospitals and clinics.” The AP reports, “A Minnesota man who is accused of joining the Islamic State group in Syria has been returned to the United States to face terrorism charges. Abdelhamid Al-Madioum made his first court appearance in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on Wednesday. Authorities say he was vacationing with his family in Morocco in 2015 when he secretly booked a flight to Istanbul, Turkey, and then traveled to Syria. He’s charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.” In the Pioneer Press, Kristi Belcamino writes: “The St. Paul City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to move forward with Mayor Melvin Carter’s guaranteed basic income demonstration project....
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota health officials are reporting 717 additional COVID-19 cases and four more deaths. Meanwhile, the total number of positive cases confirmed has breached 70,000 in the state. On Monday, the Minnesota Department of Health released its daily update on the COVID-19 situation. Of the four additional deaths, three were people at long-term care (LTC) facilities, which have been significantly impacted during the pandemic. Overall deaths total 1,771, with 1,313 of those deaths being in LTC facilities. Of the 70,298 cases confirmed since the pandemic began, 63,059 no longer need to isolate themselves. In hospitals, 310 are being treated, up nine from Sunday. ICU visits are at 135, which is two down from Sunday. The MDH noted that some hospitals are not reporting hospitalized or ICU status on Saturdays or Sundays. “The weekend numbers for current hospitalization and ICU status will include numbers from Friday for these hospitals and are considered estimates of current hospitalizations,” MDH said. MORE: COVID-19 Weekly Report In regards to testing, MDH says about 12,300 tests were completed in the...
    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two M Health Fairview hospitals are now accepting donations of frozen mother’s milk as part of its partnership with the nonprofit Minnesota Milk Bank For Babies. Officials say the local organization has seen an increased interest in donating extra milk since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Donations are accepted at M Health Fairview’s University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and Woodwinds Hospital. In September, M Health Fairview will expand its milk donation program to two additional locations: Northland Medical Center and Southdale Hospital. “We know that mothers are not always able to breastfeed their babies after birth, but we’re sure to support them by helping to make donated mother’s milk available to them,” said Mark Spitzack, M Health Fairview’s Coordinator of Perinatal and Pediatric Support Projects. Officials say donors are screened for potential diseases, including COVID-19, by the Minnesota Milk Ban For Babies prior to approval. In addition to a thorough screening process, donated mother’s milk is pasteurized, tested and frozen before being redistributed to babies and families, which virtually eliminates the chance of disease transmission. To learn more about M Health Fairview’s curbside drop-off procedures click here.
    ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Travelers from 34 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, must now quarantine for 14 days when they travel to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Governors of New York and New Jersey announced Tuesday that Illinois, Minnesota, Puerto Rico and D.C. are now now on the list of states that face quarantine restrictions under a joint travel advisory issued last month. The advisory includes states if their seven-day rolling average of positive tests exceeds 10%, or if the number of positive cases exceeds 10 per 100,000 residents. The list has included Texas, California and Florida for weeks. Minnesota was taken off the list briefly last week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has expressed worry for weeks that infection rates in hard-hit New York could once again rise because of travel from high-risk states. New York hospitals saw over 18,000 patients with COVID-19 at a time in mid-April when infections surged and more than 750 COVID-19 patients died each day in hospitals and nursing homes. Those figures plunged in May, and...
    The death toll in Minnesota from COVID-19 reached 1,552 on Wednesday, with an additional four deaths. The state data reports another 507 confirmed infections, increasing Minnesota’s total number of cases to 47,961. The actual number of cases is likely much higher as the data only represents those who have been tested for the virus, state officials say. Of the state’s total deaths since March, 1,192 were long-term care of assisted living center residents, according to Minnesota Department of Health data updated Wednesday morning. HOW ARE PATIENTS DOING? There were 42,234 patients Wednesday that no longer need to be isolated as they have recovered enough. This is an increase from 41,511 yesterday. There were 273 patients with COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals, up from 266 the day before. Of those patients in hospitals, 119 are in intensive care, up from from 112 Tuesday. Related Articles Last call for alcohol in Colorado will be 10 p.m., Gov. Jared Polis orders in latest salvo against COVID-19 Classes twice a week, parents driving to school: St. Paul district details plans...
    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's hospitals have asked Gov. Tim Walz to impose a statewide mask mandate to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In a letter released Friday, the Minnesota Hospital Association urged the governor to act quickly to protect Minnesota from the surge hitting other states. While hospitalizations in Minnesota for COVID-19 have been declining, the group pointed out that the state's positivity rate and new case counts are rising again. “We have a narrow window of time to slow the spread of the virus, so we are asking you to mandate the wearing of face masks statewide as soon as possible," said the letter from Dr. Rahul Koranne, president and CEO of the association. Walz told Minnesota Public Radio on Friday he hasn't made a decision. While the Democratic governor said he's willing to order a mandate “at some point in time,” he'd like to get Republican support rather than impose it unilaterally. He said he's watching the state's positivity rate creep upward, and it makes him nervous. The Minnesota Department of Health on Friday reported 669 more...
    The death toll in Minnesota from COVID-19 reached 1,526 on Thursday, with an additional eight deaths. State officials reported another 611 confirmed infections, increasing Minnesota’s total number of cases to 44,347. The actual number of cases is likely much higher as the data only represents those who have been tested for the virus, state officials say. Thursday’s reported deaths included four people who were residents of long-term care or assisted living centers. Of the state’s total deaths since March, 1,179 were long-term care or assisted living center residents. HOW ARE PATIENTS DOING? There were 38,290 patients Thursday that no longer need to be isolated as they have recovered enough. This is an increase from 38,179 Wednesday. There were 249 patients with COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals, down from 254 the day before. Of those patients in hospitals, 103 are in intensive care, down from 106 Wednesday. Related Articles Coronavirus keeping your vacation plans close to home? Here are a dozen unique places to stay Coronavirus career-switch: Franchises appeal to displaced workers Walmart latest retailer...
    The death toll in Minnesota from COVID-19 reached 1,495 on Friday, with an additional five deaths. The state data reports another 609 confirmed infections, increasing Minnesota’s total number of cases to 40,767. The actual number of cases is likely much higher as the data only represents those who have been tested for the virus, state officials say. Friday’s reported deaths comprised of one individual in their 50’s, two in their 60’s and two in their 90’s. Of the state’s total deaths, 1,166 were long-term care of assisted living center residents, according to Minnesota Department of Health data updated Friday morning. HOW ARE PATIENTS DOING? There were 35,442 patients Friday that no longer need to be isolated as they have recovered enough. This is an increase from 35,193  yesterday. There were 227 patients with COVID-19 in Minnesota hospitals, up from 251 the day before. Of those patients in hospitals, 124 are in intensive care, up from 116 Thursday. Related Articles What it’s like to enter the workforce from your childhood bedroom Minn. lawmakers consider bill extending...
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