North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) and other health officials warned residents in a statement Friday that hospitals are reaching critical capacity due to COVID-19 cases.
“The pressure on hospitals and clinics in both our urban and rural areas is reaching critical levels, and we all need to do our part to avoid hospitalization and prevent further strain on these facilities and their staff as we work through this incredibly challenging time,” Burgum said in the statement.
State data shows there are currently only 15 available intensive care unit beds and 214 available staffed inpatient beds across the state.
The rise in COVID-19 delta variant cases in the state is causing delays to access in emergency care and inpatient settings, Dr. Richard Vetter, chief medical officer at Essentia Health, said.
“North Dakota’s six largest hospitals reported 43 patients were deflected to other facilities, including six psychiatric patients; and 29 patients were waiting in emergency departments to be admitted to the hospital,” the statement reads.
The medical professionals say the critical capacity levels are likely to hold for a few more weeks during this surge.
The state gave multiple ways the public can help hospitals deal with the capacity limit.
The statement tells residents to avoid risky activities that could lead to injury, see a primary doctor regularly, vaccinate, wash hands, social distance, wear a mask, stay home if sick, practice defensive driving and use telehealth if a person can.