Essentia Health And St. Luke’s Hospital Overwhelmed With Patients

DULUTH, Minn. – Both St. Luke’s Hospital and Essentia Health are becoming overwhelmed with patients and most of them are non-COVID-19 related hospitalizations.

On Thursday, leaders from the two hospitals hosted a press conference pleading with the public to get care when needed.

Health officials from St. Luke’s Hospital say they have already reached capacity, while Essentia Health is also now very close to reaching that limit.

Since the spring, both Twin Ports hospitals have been planning ways to handle an increased number of patients due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.

Now Essentia Health and St. Luke’s Hospital have bigger worries.

Unfortunately, we have the potential for a perfect storm of COVID patients, flu patients, and an increase of patients with medical problems because they have not gotten the care they need,” said Dr. Jon Pryor, the president of Essentia’s East Market.

Health officials from both hospitals say their emergency rooms are becoming overwhelmed with patients because many were too scared to go for a check-up during the pandemic.

“The first moment you feel you are ill, don’t delay your care because it could potentially escalate instead of being managed in an outpatient setting and could require hospitalization,” said Dr. Rajesh Prabhu, the infectious disease physician from Essentia Health.

Although patient numbers are increasing with non-COVID-19 related medical issues, Twin Ports health providers are continuing to encourage everyone to follow safety guidelines because case numbers are rapidly going up.

“It is crucial that everyone adhere to them. We need to be able to turn the tide and start reducing the COVID-19 cases in our region,” said Dr. Nicholas Van Deelan, the chief medical officer at St. Luke’s Hospital.

Medical experts continue to recommend avoiding large gatherings, remembering to wear a mask, and social distancing when around others.

The hospitals also say they are seeing a trend of positive cases stemming from smaller gatherings or close interactions with people outside their households.

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