Northland hospitals feeling the strain under latest COVID surge |

Northland hospitals feeling the strain under latest COVID surge

Updated: October 12, 2021 06:41 PM
Created: October 12, 2021 12:13 PM

Northland hospitals are feeling the strain of COVID plus other problems related to the pandemic, and are asking for the public's help to stop the spread. They are seeing unprecedented volumes in the emergency rooms.

Nearly 60 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center. "This is the highest number of COVID patients at St. Mary's since last winter," shared Dr. Anne Stephen, Chief Medical Officer of Essentia Health East. 

WATCH: Full COVID-19 health briefing from Duluth Hospitals

One of the doctors in the ICU is Christina Bastin de Jong, who said,"The bottom line is, many of our beds are filled with patients who are eligible for the vaccine but have not received one. One of the most common things we hear is, I wish I had gotten the vaccine."

And St. Luke's is seeing an increase in hospitalizations related to COVID as well.

Those, coupled with the regular medical emergencies, have lead to high volumes at the emergency rooms.

Essentia said that at one point earlier this month, 7 ambulances showed up at the emergency department at the same time.

At St. Luke's, they had to reschedule some elective surgeries last week, due to capacity. But they are adapting to make sure they can take care of you.

"We're finding innovative ways to help outlying hospitals. A patient who needed a kidney procedure came here, we did the procedure, and then sent them back to their home hospital to recover. It likely saved that person's kidneys," shared Dr. Jonathan Shultz, an ER doctor at St. Luke's.

He said if you need emergency care, you should come in. If you wait, it could get worse. And that's what they are seeing now with some patients.

The co-CEO and Chief Medical Officer at St. Luke's, Dr. Nick Van Deelen, said treatments for COVID are helping keep some people out of the hospital. "We really have some good options now. Our monoclonal antibody clinic is really busy. And people are getting treated early in their illness, which keeps them from progressing."

Van Deelen added that less than 1% of their employees quit over the vaccine mandate.

They continue to encourage you to get your vaccine. "Please don't let politics guide your decision about getting the vaccine. Let science and medicine guide you," Dr. Stephen added.

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