MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ahead of the big holiday weekend COVID cases are surging in the region. In Minnesota alone new cases are up 53% over the last 14 days.

Minnesota hospitalizations due to COVID are up nearly 40% over the last 14 days. There are concerns the Thanksgiving holiday could lead to an even greater surge and most hospitals are back to putting off elective surgeries. The increase in hospitalizations is coming not just from a rise in COVID patients but also non-COVID emergencies, as well as preventative health checks many patients have been putting off.

For health care workers, exhaustion and burnout set in long ago. Emily Allen is a critical care nurse who has been caring for COVID patients since the pandemic began. She was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“Our ICUS are completely full right now I’d say 70% of our patients are unfortunately unvaccinated but it’s not just the COVID patients, it’s all the ones that need surgical procedures and have life-threatening things going on. These COVID patients can stay in the ICU anywhere from two weeks up to months.”

Making the crisis worse is the number of health care workers leaving their jobs. A Morning Consult survey found that throughout the pandemic, 20% of health care workers nationwide have quit their jobs.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Esme Murphy