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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."

Go deeper

13 hours ago - Health

5 times as many police officers have died from COVID as from guns since pandemic began

Photo: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

COVID-19 is the leading cause of death for police officers even though members of law enforcement were among the first to be eligible to receive the vaccine, CNN reports, citing data from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Why it matters: Nearly 476 police officers have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, compared to the 93 deaths as a result of gunfire in the same time period, according to ODMP and CNN.

18 hours ago - Health

Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents

Pope Francis. Photo: Massimo Valicchia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pope Francis called on pharmaceutical companies on Saturday to release patents to make COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to the poor, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: There is a stark divide between countries that have access to COVID-19 shots and those that don't, and the gap has widened as some wealthier countries have begun distributing third doses.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

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