Fargo emergency rooms unusually busy, demand may be unprecedented

Doctors Lawsuit

FARGO (KVRR) – An extraordinary number of patients are stretching resources to the limit at local emergency rooms.

“We are at — and often beyond — capacity every single day” according to Essentia Health spokesman Louis St. George.

“This is due to a combination of COVID-19 patients and non-COVID patients. Unfortunately, throughout this pandemic people have delayed seeking care and thus often present to our emergency departments with more acute conditions and in need of a higher level of care.”

St. George says the demand at Essentia may be unprecedented.

“We’ve rarely, if ever, seen this kind of constant demand of our emergency departments. And this sustained demand has inevitably increased wait times, although we work judiciously to keep wait times as low as possible.”

St. George says the Essentia staff has been “working tirelessly” to meet the demand.  He says employees are working longer shifts and taking fewer days off.

The situation at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo is similar.  Spokesman Nathan Aamodt says Sanford’s ER is experiencing “record volumes.”

“Our hospital capacity has been extremely high during this time as well. Most of the patients we are seeing are not COVID-19 related” Aamodt said.

The situation in Fargo is not unusual when compared to other hospitals across the nation. In the Twin Cities, doctors, nurses and health care workers used a newspaper ad to explain that the situation is critical.

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