By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of the steps Fairview Health took to prepare for the pandemic was to convert Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul into a COVID-19 treatment center.

In tonight’s Talking Points Esme Murphy spoke with a nurse who is working there.

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Until a few weeks ago, Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul was home to more than 40 long term acute care patients. But with the threat of COVID-19 approaching, Fairview Health Services converted Bethesda into a COVID -19 treatment facility, with specially designed negative airflow rooms and room for all the special equipment that is needed to protect health care workers.

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That facility is now up and running, treating COVID-19 patients. Emily Allen is a critical care nurse who has been assigned to Bethesda. She was guest on WCCO Sunday Morning and described what it was like to go into the facility.

“I paused right before I went in that room and you kind of feel that there is no turning back, you go in there and you take care of the patient to the best of you ability like we do in any situation,” Allen explained. “I just pray that we have enough equipment to safely continue to care for these patients.”

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Allen who is the mother of three young children says right now there is plenty of protective equipment. She also says she is taking extraordinary precautions, changing clothes completely before she puts on her protective gear and takes it off, so that what she wears in the COVID unit never goes home.

Esme Murphy