Gov. Walz Visits North Memorial to Highlight Hospital Bed Shortage
Governor Tim Walz directed the Minnesota National Guard to help assist long-term care facilities with staffing needs, as hospitals have had a difficult time transferring patients into nursing facilities and transitional care due to a lack of workers.
Walz spoke outside of North Memorial Health Hospital on Friday about “the domino effect.”
“If you are sick, whether it’s from COVID, whether it’s an accident, hip surgery or whatever it might be, that we protect capacity to get that care. When COVID surges, it displaces space and makes it harder for us to keep that promise,” said Walz. “The situation we’re in right now, this has had a domino effect for step-down care.”
Besides putting the National Guard on alert to provide staffing support for long-term care facilities, Walz also announced two other efforts to relieve hospital capacity. One is expanding access to the COVID-19 Emergency Staffing Pool, which allows long-term care facilities to request short-term emergency temporary staffing if they are experiencing a staffing shortage due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The other is to direct the Department of Human Services to free up capacity at state long-term care facilities.
The governor also announced new rapid testing centers opening in Stillwater, Hutchinson and Crookston as well as three other sites the following week.
North Memorial Health CEO Kevin Croston also spoke outside the hospital. He says teams have been more stressed than they’ve ever been.
“We have staffing shortages layered on top of that that we didn’t have a year ago,” said Croston. “We’re experiencing it here and everywhere in the state.”
Both Croston and Governor Walz shared frustrations over people not getting the COVID-19 vaccine and urged people to do so.
“This is all avoidable. Please get vaccinated,” said Croston. “The surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations is avoidable.”