MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We’re getting a clear picture of the strained hospital capacity in the state. Doctors say COVID-19 patients continue to congest the overall system.

M Health Fairview Friday reports of the 140 patients currently admitted with COVID, 110 are not vaccinated. That’s nearly 80%.

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Dr. Andrew Olson, director of hospital medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, said we’re in a challenging place. He says hospital and ICU capacity across the state are stressed because of COVID, delayed healthcare, and staffing challenges.

“There is enough COVID in the ICUs right now it makes it challenging for a patient with simple pneumonia who’s very sick from it, or perhaps a patient who’s had a heart attack, to find a bed in an expeditious manner,” Olson said.

Hospital systems work together to find space, but that means other things that can be pushed, are.

“There are procedures that need to get done that are being delayed longer than we would typically like, because we don’t have the in-patient capacity across the state,” Olson said.

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While he says they will find a way to always take care of all patients, COVID patients, the majority who are unvaccinated, are taxing the system.

“The best way to get the numbers of COVID patients in the system, and in the state down, is vaccination. We can decrease severe illness, hospitalization and death. Vaccination is the answer to that,” Olson said.

And he says the confluence of issues is taking a toll on healthcare workers.

“To know that some of it is preventable, and it’s harder than it needs to be, it feels like quite a change from last year when we were all in this together,” Olson said.

They’re also seeing people coming into the emergency room to get a COVID test. That’s contributing to the clogging of the system. Here’s a list of designated COVID testing locations.

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Jennifer Mayerle