Those with COVID-19 expected to fill Twin Cities ICU beds soon

There is a growing concern that COVID-19 cases could start overloading Minnesota hospitals in the coming weeks.

Dr. John Hick, Hennepin Healthcare’s medical director for emergency preparedness, said health professionals are looking at setting up beds for patients at places such as hotels and closed nursing homes.

About 15% of ICU beds are open right now in the metro area, but those are expected to fill up fast.

"A lot of people are on critical care or on life support for weeks at a time with this," Hick said.

Ventilators are another resource expected to be in high demand. Hennepin Healthcare operates about 50 of them across its facilities. Health care officials say they can double that number by using other hospital equipment, such as BiPAP machines.