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    Midwest COVID-19 surge update

As the Midwest continues to experience a COVID-19 surge in cases, Dr. Amy Williams, the executive dean of practice for Mayo Clinic, says the number of patients with COVID-19 coming into Mayo Clinic hospitals continues to increase every day.

Watch: Dr. Amy Williams discusses the latest on the COVID-19 surge.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality sound bites with Dr. Williams are available in the downloads. Please courtesy: "Amy Williams, M.D. / Executive dean for practice/ Mayo Clinic"

"We continue to see an increase in the number of patients in our communities that are getting COVID-19. We continue to see that translate into more and more hospitalizations," says Dr. Williams.

In anticipation of more patients needing hospitalization, Dr. Williams says Mayo Clinic is increasing the number of ICU beds at Mayo Clinic Hospital  — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus.

"We are standing up more ICU beds at Saint Marys because with high in positivity rates and increase in the number of people that are getting tested and testing positive, we are anticipating an increase in the number of people needing hospitalization. We're getting ready," says Dr. Williams.

Saint Marys Campus also is increasing the number of general medical beds in order to care for patients, with and without COVID-19, that require hospitalization.

Dr. Williams says adding to the need for more hospital beds at Saint Marys Campus is an increase in hospital transfers from outside of Mayo Clinic Health System.

"We are seeing more and more patients transferred from outside of our typical area, which just tells us that hospitals elsewhere in Minnesota and surrounding states are overwhelmed because of this surge," says Dr. Williams.

As community spread continues, Dr. Williams says staffing remains a concern.

"There are three things you need to take care of any patient, but especially a patient with COVID-19 because they need very specialized care. You need space, supplies and staff," says Dr. Williams. "What we are most worried about is staff, because we see our staff being exposed and getting COVID-19, mostly in the community. Over 93% of those individuals who have had exposures to COVID-19, are exposed in the community, not at work."

That's why Mayo Clinic experts continue to drive home the message that people need to reduce their risk by wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, and avoiding large gatherings.

"Everybody is getting very tired of wearing a mask and hearing about social distance, being told to wash their hands, but we're doing this because we care about our communities," says Dr. Williams. "We don't want families to lose loved ones. We want everyone to be safe. We will get through this, but we need to be safe, we need to protect each other."

Learn more about: Tracking and trending COVID-19

Mayo Clinic tracking and tracing COVID-19 map 11/17/2020

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.  

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.