Are Minnesota hospitals ready for stay-at-home to expire?

With Minnesota’s stay-at-home order set to expire in one week, the Governor is likely meeting with major stakeholders to evaluate if an extension is needed. One of the key factors in their decision will be whether hospitals feel prepared.

According to current models, Minnesota’s stay at home order has pushed the peak to mid-summer. Dr. Elie Berbari with the Mayo Clinic says that has bought the hospital time to prepare.

“I think we are much better now than we were two months ago in so many ways,” said Berbari, the Chair of Mayo’s infectious disease division. “In terms of testing capabilities in terms of understanding the disease. We definitely have better tools now.”

Berbari did not want to take an official stance on extending the stay-at-home order, but he did say it was a “balance” between slowing the spread and re-opening the economy.

“At some point, we’re going to have to balance between keep pushing versus providing care to non-COVID patients and that’s really the balance that everybody is trying to face in the healthcare system,” he said.

A new modeling scenario emerged Monday that shows predicted outcomes if the stay-at-home order was extended to the end of May. It forecasts more deaths and peak ICU demand than the scenario Governor Walz is currently following.

“Can we become more ready in a month from now? I think we might understand more, we might have more testing capabilities,” said Berbari. “But we are in a much better place now.”

Minnesota’s stay-at-home order expires May 18.