More than 900 staff members in the Mayo Clinic Health System in the Midwest have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in just the last two weeks as COVID-19 cases regionally continue to soar, officials said.
The newly diagnosed cases amount to 30% of the total number of cases among Mayo Clinic workers since the start of the pandemic in March, Ginger Plumbo, a spokesperson for the medical center, told HuffPost on Thursday.
Plumbo emphasized that roughly 93% of the infections are believed to have occurred from community spread and not from exposure in the workplace, highlighting the need for greater virus precautions within the community.
“This impacts our ability to care for patients,” Plumbo said of the virus’s effects on health care staff. “We need everyone in the communities we serve to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
Of the Mayo Clinic’s Midwest health care workers, approximately 2.7% either have work restrictions related to COVID-19 exposure or are entirely unable to work due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, the Mayo Clinic said in a statement on Thursday.
The Mayo Clinic’s Midwest health system, which employs roughly 55,000 staff, has locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa ― three states that have been dealing with a significant rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
On Wednesday, Wisconsin reported its highest number of confirmed cases in a single day. Of those hospitalized for the virus, 19% are in an intensive care unit, leaving only 9% of ICU beds available across the state, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said.
On Thursday, Minnesota reported a record-setting one-day increase in deaths related to COVID-19. These 72 deaths topped the previous record of 67 deaths reported only a day earlier, the Star Tribune reported.
Iowa has the third-highest rate of new COVID-19 cases nationally, behind North and South Dakota, On Monday, after months of refusal, the governor ordered that masks must be worn indoors.
Dr. Amy Williams, the executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice, repeated the need for more community involvement to reduce the rising rates of infection at a media briefing on Tuesday.
“The bottom line is, our hospitals are busy, our health care workers are very busy, and we know much more now than we did in the spring about how to care for COVID patients, but we’re still seeing a spread in our communities,” she said.
Her comments came as the Mayo Clinic’s major campus in Rochester, Minnesota, reported that all 32 of its medical intensive care beds designated for COVID-19 patients were full.