Minnesota opens second COVID-19 overflow site amid increased hospitalizations

Good Samaritan Society - Bethany, a senior living facility in Brainerd, Minn., is partnering with the state to serve as an alternative care facility and relieve hospitals overwhelmed during the latest COVID-19 surge, Gov. Tim Walz announced Nov. 10.

An additional emergency staffing team of 14 Minnesota National Guard members and nine federal nurses will provide patient care at Good Samaritan Society – Bethany beginning Nov. 10, Mr. Walz said in a news release. The site will accept up to 34 patients from hospitals in central and northern Minnesota. The transfers will include patients who no longer require acute emergency care but are not well enough to return home, including individuals recovering from surgery.

Good Samaritan Society – Bethany is the second facility in Minnesota to open as an overflow site for patients ready to be discharged from the hospital. On Nov. 2, Mr. Walz announced Benedictine St. Gertrude's in Shakopee, Minn., as the first skilled nursing facility in Minnesota to partner with the state to help ease hospital capacity. The facility made 30 beds available for transitional care from metro hospitals. 

"As Minnesota doctors and nurses care for more COVID-19 patients, we’re calling in reinforcements," the governor said in a news release. "Our new alternative care sites will treat Minnesotans on the road to recovery so our hospitals can focus on providing care for our most critical patients, including those sick with COVID-19. We're forging a coalition to assist our hospitals. By working with our partners at long-term care facilities, the federal government, and the National Guard, we're helping make sure we have the capacity to care for those who need it."

In Minnesota, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased 14 percent over the last two weeks, according to data tracked by The New York Times.  

The state also reported Nov. 10  a total of 1,159 daily COVID-19 hospitalizations, the highest number for 2021, according to data from the state health department. The previous 2021 record had been set the day prior.   

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