Minnesota healthcare workers call for more COVID-19 restrictions as hospitals feel strain

As COVID-19 continues to spread, Minnesota doctors and nurses are begging people to stay home and are calling on the governor use his power and shut down bars and restaurants all together.

“We are facing a stress to our system like we have never seen,” said Dr. Dimitri Drekonja, the chief of infectious disease in Minneapolis with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare system.

Even nurses are sounding the alarm.

“I have held the hands of patients, dying urging to see their family members knowing they can’t,” said Mary Turner, an ICU nurse at North Memorial hospital.

That is why the organization they belong to, called “Our Stories. Our Health,” wants more COVID restrictions.

“Right now we need more help, the honor code is killing us and we need to step up and enforce the rules,” said Dr. Hannah Lichtsinn, Our Stories. Our Health co-chair.

From the Twin Cities to Duluth, doctors say the virus is spreading so fast, that hospitals are on the verge of not keeping up.

“My hospital that I work at right now has been on divert of some sort for every day since October 1, which means we are not accepting patients at some point during the day for that entire period of time because there is nowhere for us to care for them,” said Dr. Rachel Gordon of St. Luke’s in Duluth.

They are calling on Governor Tim Walz to dial back restrictions and shut down bars and restaurants.

“Until we get over this hump and until we have better control over this spread and stop this exponential growth, we need to stop going to bars and restaurants,” said Dr. Lichtsinn. “And I think it’s hard for people to just do that if they are open.”  

The governor shut down in-person service after 10 p.m. at bars and restaurants starting last Friday.

Wednesday he is expected to announce more restrictions, including canceling all remaining fall and winter school sporting events.