Number of ICU Beds in Minnesota Hospitals Continues to Decline


While COVID hype and fear is pushed on the American population, Minnesota’s ICU bed capacity continues to decline. Government officials, news outlets, and influencers are encouraging Minnesotans to get vaccinated to stay out of the ICU, citing Minnesota’s “93% full ICUs.”

Fear of contracting COVID and ending up in the ICU has been pushed by much of the mainstream media, reporting that Minnesota hospitals are “at 95% capacity” and saying the latest COVID surge is overwhelming the healthcare system in Minnesota.

However, that’s not the whole story. The number of staffed and available ICU beds has been steadily falling for the last year and a half, down nearly 1,000 total beds from almost one year ago in October 2020.

Minnesota ICU bed availability fell significantly from May 2020 to October 2020 by about 400, going from a capacity of 2,377 beds in May to a capacity of 1,929 in October.

According to data obtained from the Minnesota Department of Health website, the current state-wide ICU capacity is 1,208, down from the 2,377 bed capacity in May of 2020. The ICU capacity has decreased from the beginning of COVID by over 1,100 beds, which is a 49% drop.

This shortage of ICU beds has nothing to do with COVID and everything to do with staffing. “Ninty-three percent full” ICU beds, which in May of 2020 would have been over 2,000, today is only around 1,000.

A majority of the state’s ICU patients are also non-COVID. According to the Minnesota Department of Health website, there are 892 non-COVID ICU patients and 153 COVID ICU patients. The website does not delineate between those in the ICU with other health issues in addition to testing positive for COVID.

On a Facebook post within a private medical freedom group, Minnesota healthcare providers were discussing the media’s fear tactics. One woman shared that her sister works at Abbott and reported that its hospital beds were not full.


A doctor at an unknown Minnesota hospital shared that the real issue is staffing, not a lack of beds. According to this doctor, if their ICU was fully staffed, they would need four or five nurses to cover a night shift, but they were down to two total nurses for the entire weekend.


Another nurse shared that she works at Fairview, and the problem there also is not a lack of beds but a lack of nurses.


According to another hospital employee, all the Minnesota COVID patients she has been seeing were vaccinated against COVID and as of Thursday, her hospital only had a single COVID patient.


Many pointed the issue back to a lack of employees across the board, with eligible workers preferring to remain at home and get unemployment rather than get a job. They compared the hospital workforce shortage with the shortage that is impacting countless other businesses.

Others believe that the shortage is due, in part, to the COVID vaccination mandates that have been sweeping many major healthcare providers in Minnesota. As reported by The Minnesota Sun, “According to the Becker Hospital Review, a study conducted in part by The Washington Post found that one in six healthcare employees would rather quit their job than take a forced COVID vaccination.”

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Hayley Tschetter is a reporter with The Minnesota Sun | Star News Network. Follow Hayley on Twitter or like her Facebook page. Send news tips to [email protected].









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One Thought to “Number of ICU Beds in Minnesota Hospitals Continues to Decline”

  1. David Blackwell RN, BSN, CCM

    Triage 101. Ever see an episode M.A.S.H?