Winona State University is one of three sites being considered for use as an overflow hospital for people across Southeast Minnesota. WSU dorms could become makeshift hospitals for non-critical patients if COVID-19 infections overwhelm hospital capacity in Southeast Minnesota.
Across the state of Minnesota, many hospitals are experiencing sharp increases in people sick with the virus. While they have been working to retrofit their facilities to handle as many patients as possible, state officials are working to prepare alternative care sites if needed.
The overflow hospital space in Winona would care for non-critical patients who are not affected by COVID-19. After the patients are treated at the hospital, be they would be transferred to one of temporary hospitals sites where they’ll be able to heal and recover.
Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Director Joe Kelly explains, “For example, if someone breaks their arm during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak, it might be set at a hospital, and then they would be transferred to one of these temporary hospitals while they heal enough to be released.”
The Minnesota Department of Health, National Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), local emergency managers, and health care systems across the state, HSEM staff are evaluating potential alternative care sites throughout Minnesota with the goal of being able to rapidly create an extra 2,750 beds. In Southeast Minnesota alone, the state wants to be ready to create 250-350 beds.
To learn about WSU spaces becoming potential overflow hospital sites, you can read more in the Winona Post article “WSU Dorms could become makeshift Hospitals.”