ST. CLOUD -- With nearly 3,000 new cases of COVID-19 reported in a single day, health officials are concerned about the stress the virus is putting on hospitals.

CentraCare spokesman Dr. George Morris says hospitals are feeling the pinch this wave of the virus is causing, including in St. Cloud.

There are approximately twice as many inpatients as we had at the peak in May, and we never got down to zero. Now we've seen it basically double from last time.

Morris says roughly 15-20 percent of all of their patients currently in the hospital have COVID-19 or a COVID related illness. He adds there are even patients in their 20s and 30s hospitalized with the virus.

With the higher COVID-19 case rate across the state, Morris says it is also causing staffing issues.

There are many of our staff ill themselves, at home on quarantine, at home caring for family members that are ill, or at home caring for their children because the schools have gone to distance learning.

Morris says to help with the staffing shortage they are asking for anyone with a health care background to volunteer their time to help continue to care for the community.

He adds it's important to consistently remember to keep wearing your mask, practice good hand hygiene, limit your interaction with others, and get tested.

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