Oct 1, 2021 - Health

North Dakota hospitals reaching critical capacity

Emergency department at the Royal Alexandra Hospital sign. Thursday, August 26, 2021, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and medical officials are urging the public to help reduce the need for hospitalizations as hospitals are at "redline capacity."

Driving the news: North Dakota's six largest hospitals reported 43 patients were sent to other facilities and 29 patients were waiting in emergency departments to be admitted, the state announced Friday.

The big picture: Hospitals in North Dakota have seen a significant increase in acute health care needs in recent months, said Dr. Richard Vetter, chief medical officer at Essentia Health.

  • North Dakota has an 8% positivity rate as of Oct. 1, according to the state's coronavirus website.
  • Staffing shortages and a nationwide shortage of monoclonal antibodies, which help keep COVID-19 cases out of the hospital, are also putting a strain on hospitals.
  • Vetter said the additional demand has led to increased delays in access to care, especially in emergency rooms and inpatient settings.

What they're saying: “The pressure on hospitals and clinics in both our urban and rural areas is reaching critical levels, and we all need to do our part to avoid hospitalization and prevent further strain on these facilities and their staff as we work through this incredibly challenging time,” Burgum said in a statement.

  • “The health care systems in our state and across the region are at the point of being overwhelmed,” said Dr. Jeffrey Sather, chief of medical staff at Trinity Health in Minot. “We are above our capacity to provide the normal care we all expect."
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