By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s major hospitals and healthcare systems are stepping up their urgency ahead of Thanksgiving this week with a messaging campaign that declares “There’s no more time to be ‘Minnesota Nice.'”

The campaign is called “Fight COVID MN.”

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“We need to pull this lever, which is a little bit more in your face,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, the president and CEO of the Minnesota Hospital Association.

One of the first two posters shows a healthcare worker in PPE with text that says, “We’re not the front line. You are. We’re your last chance.”

The other reads, “We’re sure it’s good, but is Grandma’s pumpkin pie really to die for?”

“I think it’s time to get pretty aggressive,” said Dr. Omobosola Akinsete, HealthPartners’s chair of infectious diseases.

(credit: Fight Covid MN)

Doctors like Koranne and Akinsete have many facts and numbers to convey the urgency, like the dangerous lack of staffing right now.

“Last week, almost 7,000 hospital healthcare workers were out on one day,” Koranne said. “That limits our capacity to care for hospitalized patients, both COVID and not COVID.”

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But Dr. Andrew Olson, M Health Fairview’s director of COVID Hospital Medicine, feels stories are more effective than statistics.

“My dad is quite ill with cancer, and we’re not getting together for Thanksgiving this year, and that’s heartbreaking,” Olson said. “But to see my dad step up and say, ‘You know what? It’s not the right choice this year, guys,’ gives me great, great hope for the state.”

Other doctors share that sentiment with Olson, because they believe in the people here.

“I would rather be in no other state than Minnesota, with the tenacity,” Olson said.

Koranne said Minnesotans need to show their “grit and resolve.”

“If more and more people are following the rules, I think that more and more people will follow the rules,” Akinsete said.

Olson said as bad as things may look right now, it’s not a foregone conclusion this will be a disaster. He says we all have the power to stop this pandemic.

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David Schuman