According to the Minnesota Department of Health the number of people in the ICU units is the highest level this year and hospitals are feeling the strain. Due to COVID-19 complications and staffing shortages there has become a lack of ICU beds and places like Essentia in Duluth have had to divert patients to other hospitals.

This means that right now the hospital does not have enough beds to take care of these patients and they have to be moved somewhere else. Unfortunately these problems are not unique to Duluth, Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital and Fairview Range are in the same position having to divert patients.

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Jean MacDonell, CEO of Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital and Fairview Range said to CBS3 :

We worry about the needs of the community as far as traumas, car accidents, heart attacks, just basic health care needs that come into our emergency room and not having a spot for them in our facility, or if we are not able to transfer them having to hold those critical patients until we can find them a bed.

It was really just a matter of time before areas like Duluth would be in this predicament, but what also makes St. Luke's and Essentia unique is that it serves people from all over the Northland which can make this situation even harder on patients and staff. Frontline workers have been dealing with this since the start of the pandemic, and health care workers continue to stress to the general public to make sure they make regular visits to their primary healthcare provider and to get vaccinated.

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