(The Hill) – Minnesota hospital leaders are warning in a full-page newspaper ad that they are “overwhelmed” amid a COVID-19 surge and are urging the public to take action.
“Our emergency departments are overfilled, and we have patients in every bed in our hospitals,” write the leaders of nine hospital systems in the state, including the Mayo Clinic and North Memorial Health.
The hospitals warn that because their capacity is strained, care for non-coronavirus medical events, like heart attacks, is also threatened.
“Now, an ominous question looms: will you be able to get care from your local community hospital without delay? Today, that’s uncertain,” they write in the ad, which is running in major newspapers across the state.
Minnesota has the third-most per capita COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the COVID Act Now tracking site, behind New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Almost 1,800 people are in the hospital with COVID-19 in Minnesota, approaching the height of the winter peak last year, before vaccines were widely available.
Other states are also facing strains at their medical facilities. Massachusetts hospitals, for example, are cutting back on some elective surgeries.
The Minnesota hospital leaders point out that many of the hospitalizations could be prevented, given that COVID-19 hospitalizations across the country are being driven largely by the unvaccinated.
“Every day we’re seeing avoidable illness and death as a direct result of COVID19,” the ad says.
“How can we as a society stand by and watch people die when a simple shot could prevent a life-threatening illness?” it adds.
The hospital leaders call on people to get vaccinated and get their booster shots, as well as to wear a mask.