Minnesota hospitals face staffing shortages as COVID-19 patient numbers grow

A healthcare workers wears PPE to tend to a patient in the hospital. (FOX 9)

The busiest emergency room in the state of Minnesota says it has seen a growing number of COVID-19 cases and it’s not alone statewide.

COVID-19 numbers in Minnesota continue to spike as Minnesota adjusts to the newest round of restrictions. One of the biggest areas of concern is open hospital beds.

Employees at Hennepin Healthcare say they are fatigued, busy and worried about what the coming days will bring.

The daily number of people being admitted into Minnesota hospitals was higher in November than it has been at any point in this pandemic.

If you look at the chart, it’s been on the rise since about mid-October.

Open ICU beds were down to single digits in some parts of the state last week as MDH is reporting 79 percent of available ICU beds are filled.

At HealthPartners, for example, 88 percent of intensive care beds in their hospital system were occupied as of this morning.

In addition, more than 300 staff have confirmed or pending COVID-19 cases with another 400 or more in quarantine due to exposure.

That is the big problem, the hospitals say. Staff getting sick from the community, not the hospital, is causing staffing shortages.

Even if hospitals have beds, they may be close to not having enough people to care for every case.