A message from CEO and president Steve Underdahl.
You’ve read the headlines: Minnesota hospitals are overwhelmed, COVID continues to spread (and mutate), the need for medical care is skyrocketing.
It’s happening here in our community, too. Our Emergency Department is seeing record numbers of patients. We’ve had to reschedule some surgeries. Our clinics are extremely busy, and the volume of calls is unprecedented. (If you’ve been on hold, we apologize.)
The problem is COVID – whether you have COVID or not. The vast number of COVID cases ties up our healthcare system statewide. The state’s large hospitals have become the destination for serious COVID cases in addition to other critical health conditions.
Minnesotans who need specialty care are more vulnerable now than ever before, especially in emergencies where time is crucial, such as a heart attack or stroke. Typically, we transfer patients who need specialized care to the hospital best-suited to the level of care they need. But these hospitals often have no room; they simple can’t take transfers. So patients must stay in a community hospital that can’t always provide the level of care that’s optimal for them.
With the recent discovery of yet another variant, I fear another difficult winter may lie ahead. Viruses only look for opportunities to reproduce, and if necessary, evolve. Viruses don’t care about our politics, our philosophies, our perspectives, or about healthy lifestyles.
I am not trying to be an alarmist or dramatic, but I think this moment requires truth.
We’re providing safe care at NH+C, always: That’s the cornerstone of every contingency plan we’ve built since the pandemic began. Our staff is focused and dedicated. We have the supplies we need, for now. But we – like hospitals across the state – are reaching our limit.
Please understand our circumstances. Please be patient with our staff.
Most of all, please take care of yourself:
- GET VACCINATED. It makes you safer and helps reduce stress on the healthcare system. The more people vaccinated, the fewer COVID hospitalizations, the more we can focus on caring for other health conditions. Already vaccinated? Thank you. Now, get your booster. (The state’s Vaccine Connector is searchable by location.)
- Choose the best avenue for care. Use the ED only for emergencies, not for convenience. Choose clinic options for non-urgent in-person appointments, Video Visits, eCare. Manage chronic conditions like diabetes. Keep up with screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies. Use MyHealth Info instead of calling the clinic. Plan ahead; it may take longer to get an appointment.
- Get your flu shot. Don’t risk getting sick with a preventable disease.
- Test for COVID throughout the holidays as you spend time with others. That way if you’re infectious, you can take precautions right away.
- Take care while traveling. You know the basics: mask, distance, handwashing.
- Listen to your mother. Get enough sleep, eat good foods, wear a warm coat, nurture your healthy body.
The rule of thumb this season is: Prevent the illnesses you can, and get care when you need it.
You can count on us. Can we count on you, too?