ST. CLOUD -- Two Department of Defense emergency staffing teams will continue to provide support at area hospitals.

Governor Tim Walz announced Thursday the teams that arrived at HCMC in Minneapolis and St. Cloud Hospital last month, will remain for an additional 30 days.

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These teams have been providing support to staff to help treat COVID patients as the strain of the pandemic continues to take its toll on Minnesota hospitals.

CentraCare President and CEO Dr. Ken Holmen says the U.S. Air Force Medical Response Team has been an enormous support and their services is still needed.

Unfortunately, the current surge of COVID-19 patients in our referral area has not decreased since the team arrived at the end of November. We continue to see large and increasing numbers of patients come through the doors of CentraCare-St. Cloud Hospital. Unfortunately, our rural hospitals and referral partners are feeling that same surge. Our beds and ICUs are full.

The medical response teams will remain on staff through the end of January.

Currently, Minnesota is treating nearly 1,600 people for COVID-19 with nearly 370 COVID-positive patients in the ICU. Hospital reports say the vast majority of these patients are unvaccinated.


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