Resources across southern Minn. being strained as cases continue to increase

Resources across southern Minn. being strained as cases continue to increase

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — On Friday morning, the Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato announced it has reached 100% capacity and has no beds left for those who need hospital care.

With Blue Earth and Nicollet counties reporting record high cases of COVID-19 Friday, the South Central Healthcare Coalition said the case counts are expected to increase by 1,500 in both counties within the next 12 days.

With two hospitals already at capacity, patients may need to be transferred to Rochester or other area hospitals, as the COVID-19 recovery process can often be lengthy.

Mayo Clinic Health System Location % of Beds Currently In-Use
Mankato 100%
Waseca 100%
Fairmont 96%
New Prague 94%
St. James 92%

”Length of stay of COVID-19 patients can obviously be variable. On the lower end, it tends to be 4 to 5 days on average but, obviously, with those requiring intensive care unit admission, it may be as long as 2 or 3 weeks or more,” said Dr. James Hebl, vice president at the Mayo Clinic Health System.

About one-third of beds at the Mankato hospital were filled by patients who had COVID-19 related complications. That ratio is expected to grow within the next two to three weeks.

Mankato has also seen a wide age range among its COVID-19 patients, from 2 years old to 102.

“It’s been a very broad range of patients. The majority are within that high-risk group, namely over the age of 65, but we do have a number of COVID patients who are in their 40s and 50s but most commonly have associated risk factors,” Hebl added.

Not only has it been community members being diagnosed with the virus, but Mayo Clinic Health System staff members as well.

On Wednesday it was reported that over 900 Mayo Clinic Health System employees in Minnesota and Wisconsin were diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last two weeks. During Friday’s media event, it was learned that 58 of the more than 900 employees are from sites in southern Minnesota. An additional 82 employees are away from work caring for family members, awaiting test results, or self-isolating after exposure to someone who contracted the virus.

In total, 140 employees in the region are away from work due to COVID-19 restrictions, with 96% of those affected being impacted by community spread and the remaining 4% of cases coming from contact at Mayo Clinic Health System locations while on the job, such as break rooms.

Officials say that these statistics are not typically not released to the public, but they are doing so because they feel an urgency at this point in time to be transparent in order to strongly encourage communities to act now to mitigate the potential situation in the upcoming days, weeks and months, as well as deplete the health system’s available resources to combat and control the spread of the virus.

Health officials also said 7,231 total tests were completed across the region in the last seven days, resulting in a total of 1,482 positives, which is a 20% overall positivity rate.

To help lessen the severity in the Mankato area, the coalition stressed the importance of continuing to wear masks and practicing social distancing.

They also encouraged visiting one of the many local testing centers to get tested if you are exhibiting symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 KEYC. All rights reserved.