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'We Need Your Help Now': Hospitals Urge Minnesotans To Keep Emergency Departments Available

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) --  Hospitals are urging Minnesotans to not seek COVID-19 testing at emergency departments.

The Minnesota Hospital Association released a statement Friday asking Minnesotans to get COVID-19 testing elsewhere other than hospital emergency departments after a high volume of patients have driven up wait times for medical emergencies at several hospitals.

The following statement:

"We have run out of words to describe what we are undergoing - a crisis does not even come close; hospitals are literally full.

We urgently need the public's help to keep our emergency departments available for medical emergencies.

Please do not go to emergency departments or urgent care centers for a COVID-19 test. Seek testing at one of the many state testing sites or use a home test kit. Please help us keep our emergency department capacity and staff available for medical emergencies.

The care capacity throughout all of Minnesota is severely limited - ICUs are full, emergency departments are full, medical-surgical units are full, hallways are full, and surgeries are being canceled. Hospitals and health systems are working together in real-time to meet this challenge and coordinate resources. They are essentially now functioning as one giant system of care to support our joint mission of serving all Minnesotans. To continue to serve the high volume of patients that need care for strokes, heart attacks, emergency surgeries, motor vehicle accidents, and COVID-19, we need your help now."

More Minnesotans have seek to get tested for COVID-19 following the holidays and rise of the Omicron variant.

The state's health department reports the highest average rolling positivity rate the state has seen since the start of the pandemic, at 15.6%.

At the peak of the fall 2020 wave, the seven-day average positivity rate hit 14.8%; a 15.5% positivity rate was reported in late April of 2020. Any data point above 10% is considered "high risk."

On Friday, Minnesota reported 7,833 new cases and 33 more deaths.

In hospitals, there were 1,198 Minnesotans in non-ICU beds on Wednesday afternoon, and an additional 269 in intensive care. Staffed ICU bed availability for adults is in the single digits statewide.

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