Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

St. Cloud Hospital ER 'fast and furious' amid COVID wave in Minnesota

Amid shortage of beds, everyday emergencies add stress


November 22, 2021

ALEX KORMANN • Star Tribune

Sylvia Bennett rested in a COVID-19 room in St. Cloud Hospital's emergency room on Wednesday, waiting for an ICU bed to open up.

Wednesday was the slowest day of the week in St. Cloud Hospital's emergency room - only 11 people were in the waiting room at noon while 38 patients filled every available treatment bay.

Minnesota's busiest hospital - by occupancy rate - has been at the epicenter of the state's COVID-19 wave for three months, treating an escalating number of infected patients while seeing no slowdown in everyday emergencies. The pressure culminated last week with Minnesota's announcement that 22 federal emergency health care workers would shore up staffing in St. Cloud or other hospitals in the CentraCare system this week.

"COVID just overwhelms the system," said Dr. Andrew Winter, an ER physician who zips from traumas to infections to mental health crises. "No matter how big you build it, there are still more patients than you can take care of."


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