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Minnesota prepares to create 3,300 additional hospital beds for COVID-19 surge

Jay Kolls
Updated: March 31, 2020 10:15 PM
Created: March 31, 2020 08:34 PM

Minnesota state leaders are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst as they get ready for a surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks.

In a daily teleconference with journalists, Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said they are preparing to use civic facilities to create more intensive care rooms and non-ICU beds in seven regions across the state.

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"We need the most critical COVID folks, in the hospital," said Walz. "These seven sites will be spread out across the state as we anticipate a surge in patients connected to the outbreak."

Full KSTP COVID-19 coverage

The state has about 1,400 ICU beds, in total, and the push is to get that total to 2,000 intensive care rooms by using existing space in hospitals and clinics.

MDH said there are also about 10,700 non-ICU beds, in total, across Minnesota and the plan to have seven temporary hospitals will increase that number by 3,000 beds which gives a strong indication of how quickly COVID-19 is spreading.

"Those are accurate numbers and we think using existing hospitals to get the ICU beds we need is critical," said Malcolm. "And, we are hopeful none of the temporary care spaces will be needed, but we want to be ready if they are."

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The plan is to start preparing those civic locations now with the readiness to open them up within 48 to 72 hours notice. The only location publicly named for one of those temporary hospitals is Duluth; the others have not been revealed.


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