Nurses Make Emotional Plea Backing Gov. Walz’s Frustration at Lack of ‘Social Compliance’ of COVID Guidelines
"I think it's obvious we're going to have to do more mitigation efforts," Gov. Walz said, as the state is expected to surpass 300,00 cases by Thanksgiving.
ST. PAUL, Minn.- A frustrated Minnesota Governor Tim Walz looked to nurses and doctors from around the state to illustrate how the COVID-19 surge is pushing them to their limits — in an effort to appeal to those who may not be following prevention guidelines.
“What I recognize right now is that we’re in a place in this country where there’s a significant number of Minnesotans that, if I say it they don’t believe it,” Walz said at a press conference Monday.
Hence his call to frontline workers to share their experiences firsthand, he said.
“If you don’t believe what someone’s saying because of their political affiliation, then listen to the apolitical people who don’t have a political affiliation in this, they simply have a duty to care for those that are sick,” said the Governor.
One of those workers: intensive care nurse Kelley Anaas of Abbott Northwestern Hospital. “I’m speaking to you today coming off a grueling 32-hour work weekend.”
“So if my remarks seem emotionally charged, it’s because they are,” she said Monday.
According to Anaas COVID patients from across the state filled her ICU over the weekend, many in need of critical care.
“We intubated more patients than we transferred out to the medical floors and we said goodbye to patients we’ve been caring for for weeks,” said the nurse.
This is becoming a common occurrence at hospitals in Minnesota, other medical workers said, putting the ones giving care in danger.
“Healthcare workers across the state are getting sick and without the help of our community to combat this virus I ask, who will take care of our patients?” said Michelle Palmborg, an Assistant Professor of Nursing at St. Catherine University in St. Paul.
They all urged the public to take the virus more seriously.
“Minnesota Lawmakers, mask-wearers and COVID deniers, I’m here today to say that you need to believe nurses when we tell you that these things are happening,” Anaas said.
Still on the table, Gov. Walz said, are more regulations and legislation as soon as this week. “I think it’s obvious we’re going to have to do more mitigation efforts.”
This comes just one week after he already imposed a 50-person limit on weddings and funerals starting Nov. 27 going to 25 in December, a 10-person limit for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and a bar and restaurant limit of 150 people not exceeding 50% capacity, with a 10 p.m. closing time.
“We have got to get out of this,” said Walz at Monday’s presser, “it’s the economy v.s. the health situation that’s got us into this mess so we’re going to the best we possibly can on the public health side of it.”
“I have to figure out the social compliance of how far people are gonna go,” he said to reporters.
One potential mitigation effort would involve high school sports. Experts at the presser said 10% of all cases in Minnesota schools are associated with sports, so they are pursuing putting them on hold.
“We are urging there to be a pause on playing and on practice as well from our perspective,” MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. “So we’re in dialogue right now with our colleagues in education and in the high school league.”
Gov. Walz said new guidance from the state on high school sports could be issued in the next day or so.
It took Minnesota 29 weeks from when the state saw its first case of coronavirus to hit 100,000 cases. Six weeks after that on November 10th, the state surpassed 200,000.
Now health leaders expect to pass 300,00 by Thanksgiving — a little more than a week away.
“My responsibility as your Governor is to not tell you what you want to hear, but to tell you what you need to hear,” Walz said.
He strongly encouraged Minnesotans to only celebrate Thanksgiving with their household and immediate families. “I wanna be clear it is painful, it takes away the joy of the things that we have.”
“The idea of not gathering with my relatives in a big group and watching football and playing Yahtzee and everything else that goes with life — we simply can’t do that right now,” said the Governor.
And all healthcare workers present, including Anaas, echoed that appeal.
“Please Minnesota: stay home this Thanksgiving so that you don’t have to ring in the New Year with me,” she said.