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‘We’re heartbroken:’ Minnesota doctors plead in newspaper ad for people to get vaccinated

By Theresa Waldrop, CNN

Doctors in Minnesota took the unusual step of pleading in a full-page newspaper ad for people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and take other precautions to curb the pandemic.

“We’re heartbroken. We’re overwhelmed,” the top of the Sunday ad in the Minneapolis Star Tribune said in large type.

“Our emergency departments are overfilled, and we have patients in every bed in our hospitals,” the ad said. “This pandemic has strained our operations and demoralized many people on our teams.”

The ad was signed by nine executives of health care systems. Seven doctors, including the president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, Gianricco Farrugia, and Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota, signed it.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the number of hospitalizations in Minnesota for the past 30 days is 14.5% higher than the previous 30-day period. The number of Covid-19 deaths has increased by 36.4%.

Minnesota Hospital Association President and CEO Rahul Koranne told CNN in a statement “the full-page ad that some of Minnesota’s hospital and health system leaders signed is a dire yet accurate summary of the situation here in Minnesota. Our health care heroes are exhausted, heartbroken, and overwhelmed after running this relentless ultramarathon for 22 months each day, evening and night.”

Surgeries are also being canceled, according to Koranne, and emergency departments, ICUs, and medical-surgical units are full. He also said care capacity in the state is “severely limited.”

“The care capacity in MN is severely limited due to a worsening health care workforce crisis. There were thousands of open health care jobs before the pandemic, and this situation has escalated into a true workforce crisis due to resignations, retirements, burnout, and challenges with temporary staffing services,” he said in the statement.

Hospital and health systems are working together and coordinating resources, “essentially now functioning as one giant system of care to support our joint mission of serving all Minnesotans,” Koranne said.

More than 3.4 million Minnesota residents have gotten one shot of the J&J vaccine or two shots of Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna, according to the state’s Covid-19 response website. About 1.4 million people have had a booster shoot.

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