More than 900 staffers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., have contracted the coronavirus in the past two weeks, the hospital announced Tuesday.
Dean of Clinical Practice Amy Williams revealed the positive cases at a press briefing, saying 93 percent of the employees got the virus in the greater Rochester community while many who contracted it at the clinic got it in the break room while eating, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
“Our staff are being infected mostly due to community spread, and this impacts our ability to care for patients. We need everyone in the communities we serve to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19,” said Williams, noting how easy it was to contract the virus in the Midwest, where states are currently experiencing a surge in cases.
The more than 900 staff members account for over a third of the 2,981 Mayo employees who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. When factoring in those who are quarantined or have left to care for family members, the clinic is currently experiencing a staffing shortage of about 1,500 across their entire system.
In the same press briefing, Williams said all 32 of the clinic’s dedicated COVID-19 ICU beds had been filled at the Rochester hospital. The clinic currently is expanding the unit by roughly a dozen beds.
“We have 32 COVID patients needing tertiary care, and that’s not good. It tells us we’re in a surge,” said Williams. She added there are 73 COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized in non-ICU settings.
“All of our hospitals are really stretched, and many are absolutely full.” said Williams, but added, “We continue to have capacity for anybody who needs our care.”
Minnesota has reported 236,949 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,943 deaths from the disease since the start of the pandemic, according to the state health department.