Elective medical, dental procedures approved to begin Monday | KSTP.com

Elective medical, dental procedures approved to begin Monday

Created: May 11, 2020 05:46 AM

Starting Monday, Minnesotans will be able to undergo elective medical and dental procedures.

There have been mixed reactions to Gov. Tim Walz's decision.

For the many who need to get work done, it's a relief. However, for those who don't think the state is ready for those procedures, it's a tough start to the workweek. 

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS connected with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, the union that represents more than 30,000 workers in hospitals and long-term care facilities.

"We don't have enough (personal protective equipment) PPE on the front lines in long-term care settings," Jamie Gulley, president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, said. "Particularly, that's the worst area that we're seeing for available supply. We do think the state is working hard on this, but this order is just too soon." 

Despite the union's concern over a lack of protective equipment, a big reason behind the order is Walz saying the system has enough PPE. 

Either way, hospitals and surgical centers have to adjust to allow those who need the procedures the option to receive them.

"I think that it should be slow because we have had significant trouble getting the personal protective equipment we need, but at the same time, when people have life-threatening things, we need to take care of them as well," Dr. Bret Haake, chief medical officer at Regions Hospital, said.

Hospitals have to have a few things in place: They must screen patients for COVID-19, make sure their staff has the proper protective gear, and they have to collaborate with other hospitals to be efficient.

The state is currently seeing a backlog of procedures. M Health Fairview, for example, has around 4,500 that are on hold. 

Staff there will reach out to patients to confirm their appointments. 

Patients will have to be screened for COVID-19 two to three days before their procedures to be safe.

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