State: 98% occupancy rate in hospital intensive care units

Published 4:59 pm Tuesday, December 7, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — The number of people hospitalized in intensive care in Minnesota has reached the highest level yet during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state is reporting a 98% occupancy rate in adult ICU beds when COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients are included. Nearly 350 people are receiving intensive care.

M Health Fairview doctor, Andrew Olson, is urging people to get vaccinated and limit exposure in crowds. Among the 307 COVID-19 patients at M Health Fairview hospitals, 72% are unvaccinated.

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“I think that life can go on,” Olson said, “but life can’t go on pretending that nothing is going on.”

The delta variant is the dominant strain in Minnesota, which had the highest rate of new infections in the U.S. over the past seven days, according to data Monday.

from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Star Tribune reported.

The Minnesota Department of Health on Monday reported another 38 COVID-19 deaths and 6,122 coronavirus infections, raising pandemic totals to 9,654 deaths and 933,025 infections.

Staffing shortages in nursing homes have contributed to the pressure on hospitals, giving them nowhere to send patients who are ready to be discharged but too frail to go home. The backup can be seen in emergency departments where COVID-19 and other patients needing extended care are staying while they wait for open inpatient beds.

“We don’t have a choice right now,” Olson said, “but that is much less safe than being on an inpatient unit.”