ST. PAUL — Minnesota's two U.S. senators have colleagues from other states in a letter urging President Donald Trump's Administration to send additional medical staff to states seeing skyrocketing growth in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
In a Thursday, Nov. 12, letter, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both Minnesota Democrats) and seven other Senate colleagues told U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) administrators that case growth and hospitalizations across nearly half of the United States are unprecedented and cause for major concern.
According to the senators, the week of Nov. 12, coronavirus-related hospitalizations peaked in at least 22 states, and 23 states have more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized. In Minnesota alone, more than 12,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized, with more than 3,000 in intensive care as of Thursday.
The senators wrote that the latest nationwide surge in infections — which has hit the Midwest particularly hard — is further straining "already exhausted health care systems and essential care workers." As the senators noted, some areas like North Dakota are now asking health care workers actively infected with COVID-19 to continue working in coronavirus units to keep staffing levels up.
“As cases surge across the country, states require significantly more support to address pressing medical staffing shortages," the senators wrote. "If infection rates continue to rise as we enter the holiday season and people spend more time indoors, this pressing need for additional medical staff will become even more acute."
On Minnesota's House floor on Thursday, emergency room physician and state Rep. Alice Mann, D-Lakeville, told Minnesotans, "We are not OK."
"We are struggling to take care of you. We are struggling to take care of your families," she said.