Over 900 staff members at the Mayo Clinic Health System in the Midwest have tested positive for the novel coronavirus over the past two weeks, multiple outlets reported on Thursday.
Dr. Amy Williams, executive dean of Mayo Clinic Practice, said on Tuesday during a press call that the 905 newly diagnosed employees amount to around 30 percent of the total number who have tested positive since March, according to CBS News.
According to CBS Minnesota, the infected employees were located in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The medical system also has locations in Iowa.
Of the 905 cases, 93 percent of them are due to "community spread", CNN and NBC News reported.
"It shows how widely spread this is in our communities and how easy it is to get COVID-19 in the communities here in the Midwest," Williams reportedly said in the press call.
In total, around 1,500 Mayo Clinic Health System staff members are unable to work due to COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure, CBS News reported.
In a statement to NBC News, Mayo Clinic spokesperson Ginger Palumbo said that staffing shortage has forced the medical center to call in health practitioners from other states, as well as recruit back retired staff.
"We are bringing retirees back from recent retirements, having research nurses move into patient care roles temporarily, bringing staff in from our other sites,” Plumbo told the outlet.
The United States is currently experiencing a critical peak of COVID-19 cases in all 50 states, and in the Midwest hospitals have become overwhelmed.
According to CNN, the Mayo Clinic Health System in northwestern Wisconsin said last week that the hospital beds were 100 percent full.
"The public urgently needs to treat COVID-19 as the health emergency it is to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed," the health system said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Minnesota is reporting 27 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents as of Nov. 9. According to CBS Minnesota, eight hospitalizations per 100,000 residents is considered a “high risk” status.
As of Wednesday, there are 355 people with COVID-19 in ICU beds across the state, which amounts to 30 percent of the ICU beds currently in use, CBS Minnesota reported.
At least 1,923 new coronavirus deaths and 172,391 new cases were reported in the U.S. on Wednesday, a 77 percent increase from average two weeks earlier. As of Thursday, more than 11,695,500 people in the U.S. have been infected and over 250,000 have died, according to The New York Times database.
As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.
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