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How will the coronavirus threat impact rural Minnesota?

By Kaomi Lee

Story published: April 10, 2020

Diagnosing and treating patients with the novel coronavirus comes with different challenges for rural and regional healthcare systems located outside major metropolitan areas. From fewer ventilators to a shorter supply of intensive care unit beds, careful planning and usage of resources will be key factors in flattening the curve for northern Minnesota, Essentia Health's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Peter Henry told One Greater Minnesota Reporter Kaomi Goetz this week in a Zoom call.

"Our largest facilities are in Duluth and Fargo, N.D., but we really deliver [health care] to a really rural population, so we are recognizing we expect to see the surge of the peak a little bit later than the metropolitan [Twin Cities] area," he said.

One of the ways Essentia Health is preparing for the peak is to identify three or four different surge levels with plans to expand the number of intensive care unit beds by transforming other spaces on a temporary basis, as needed.

Editor’s Note: As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds in Minnesota, certain details in our stories about the impact of the virus may become outdated within hours, days or weeks of our publication. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in Minnesota, please visit the websites for the Office of Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan or the Minnesota Department of Health.

From stories about how to keep the "social" in social distancing to walking mural tours to a series about pregnancy in the time of COVID-19, our collection Coronavirus in Minnesota offers a spectrum of stories about how the spread of the virus is impacting Minnesotans on a variety of fronts. 

As the approximately 6 million pregnant women in the U.S. face uncertainty due to COVID-19, one Twin Cities PBS producer plans to chronicle her story and that of others along the way. Check out Pregnancy in the Time of Coronavirus.

As Minnesotans looks for ways to show their support for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we took a look back in time to celebrate the contributions that four women – all named Ruth – made to the state’s public health system. 

Kaomi Lee Read More
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