ST. PAUL -- Healthcare workers continue to plea to Minnesotans to take the COVID-19 restrictions seriously.

Carris Health CEO Dr. Cindy Firkins Smith says hospitals across Minnesota are finding themselves stretched thin.

She says roughly 1,200 employees are out because of COVID and staff are disheartened when they see people unmasked in public.

It's heartbreaking for health care workers to finish an exhausting work day, only to stop at a grocery store and see people not wearing a mask. Don't call health care workers heroes if you can't put a piece of cloth or paper over your face to protect them.

Smith says due to the recent surge their hospitals are on divert, meaning they can't accept patients who need to hospitalized and which delays the care they need.

Earlier, Mayo Clinic announced they had roughly 900 employees out due to COVID-19, Allina Health also reported 800 employees out sick with the virus.

Penny Wheeler is the CEO of Allina Health. She says they understand the emotional and mental fatigue people are feeling right now, but are asking you to persevere so health care workers are available to the patients who really need them.

Please take all the precautions you can take to make sure that we keep you healthy, you keep our health care workers healthy, so they can care for you, your neighbors and loved ones.

Wheeler says these measures are not forever and there is promise of light at the end of the tunnel with a potential vaccine.

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