North Memorial: ICU Beds Full, System ‘Incredibly Stressed’ Due to COVID-19, Delayed Care
Robbinsdale-based North Memorial Health says it’s seeing a significant surge in hospital visits, in large part to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“The people that are, by and large, in the hospital are much sicker than we’ve seen historically, all at one time,” said Dr. Kevin Croston, CEO of North Memorial Health during a briefing Thursday with Minnesota Department of Health officials.
The highly contagious delta variant of the novel coronavirus has contributed to those severe illnesses. Delayed care in the early months of the pandemic is also contributing to the hospital surge, Croston said.
According to Croston, both Maple Grove Hospital and North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale have full intensive care units (ICUs) and full medical surgical units. He says every element of its health system is “incredibly stressed.”
“The reality is that the staff is exhausted and they’re working harder than they ever have,” said Croston. “We have staffing shortages that were mentioned earlier that continue to be a very big challenge and have actually reached a critical level.”
State health officials say there are fewer health care workers on the job today than there were last year. As of result of worker shortages, North Memorial Health is postponing some surgeries to have available capacity.
North Memorial: COVID-19 Patients in Hospital Mostly Unvaccinated
Of the patients with COVID-19 in ICUs at North Memorial Health-owned hospitals, 100 percent are unvaccinated, Croston said. For the system’s medical surgical units, 75 percent are unvaccinated.
Statewide, 881 patients are hospitalized with COVID-19, including 234 in ICUs, exceeding levels seen during the spring surge, as of data reported Thursday.
North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, a Level I trauma center, has seen patient volumes escalate dramatically since summer.
“All the way across we’ve had our busiest July we’ve ever had in our history and every month seems like it breaks another record,” said Croston.
He said it’s not unusual to discharge 100 people and admit 100 others in the same day.
Said Croston, “It’s the most challenging year I’ve experienced in my 30-plus years of health care.”