As the Thanksgiving holiday season approaches, COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the Midwest, including here in Minnesota and neighboring Wisconsin.
“It is really disturbing now to see these very high numbers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and other surrounding states as we move into the colder winter seasons,” Dr. Helen Strike from Allina Health said.
Strike is the president of Regina Medical Center in Hastings and River Falls Hospital in Wisconsin. She said it’s concerning, as area hospitals are seeing an uptick of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization. “This means we are in a very high community spread,” Strike said.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 11 new deaths Sunday with the total number of COVID-19 fatalities reaching 2,312.
The total number of confirmed cases statewide is now at 267,410.
In Minnesota, the Department of Health reported its highest daily record with 5,924 additional COVID-19 cases and 31 new deaths.
“We are heading toward a need to flatten the curve,” Strike said. “We have to make sure we have hospital capacity to care for everyone and let's all work hard together to flatten that curve.”
Strike said there are concerns about COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization – and ICU capacity across the state. “I think we only have to look up to Canada who had their Thanksgiving holiday Oct. 8 and they are seeing an increase in community spread and hospitalizations now that they are a month out,” she said.
Now, she’s urging people to take precautions to prevent the potential for a second wave. “If we have a high number of cases at Thanksgiving that means Christmas is at high-risk for hospitalizations and even more deaths,” Strike said.