CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris says CentraCare and St. Cloud Hospital is "at capacity for all patients".  Morris says they have approximately the same amount of COVID-19 patients within CentraCare and at St. Cloud Hospital as they had last week but with all other non COVID-19 care needs they just don't have the beds or enough staff to handle the pressure they are facing due to COVID.  Morris says they have approximately 85 total COVID-19 patients within CentraCare and mid-60s at St. Cloud Hospital.  Last week's numbers were 87 within CentraCare and 66 at St. Cloud Hospital.  The amount of people in the ICU/Crifitcal unit this week is about the same with 22 this week as opposed to 23 last week.  Morris says three-fourths of those in the ICU//Critical Care Unit are on ventilators.  CentraCare regional facilities in Willmar, Monticello, Long Prairie, Melrose, Paynesville and Redwood Falls also have COVID-19 patients.

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Of the COVID-19 positive patients 85% are unvaccinated.  Of the 15 to 16 people who are hospitalized that have received a vaccine only 2 of them are in the ICU/Critical Care unit.  Morris says at their highest peak of positive COVID patients last winter they had 175 patients.  He says the reason why they are at capacity with mid-80s now is that many other things had stopped due to COVID restrictions.  Morris says last winter there wasn't as many people traveling, there wasn't the amount of activities and potential for injuries and routine medical ailments that aren't COVID related.  Those types of common medical needs have returned.  He says he still encourages people with emergency needs to go to CentraCare but understands there could be delays in care because of the pressure the staff is dealing with.

Morris says the combination of an increase in COVID-19 patients and a loss of nurses in the past year as contributed to the capacity limits they now face.  Morris says they appreciate the support of the community and that they support the community as well.  He says the advice they give is strictly from a health care standpoint and is not in support of a political agenda or party.

Morris says CentraCare is still offering COVID-19 vaccines for eligible people including those who are eligible for a 3rd dose or booster from Pfizer.  The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters haven't been approved yet.  Appointments at CentraCare are available by calling 320-200-3200.  My conversation with Dr. Morris is available below.




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