A group of Minnesota doctors and health executives took out a full-page newspaper ad urging the public to get vaccinated and take precautions, stressing the strain health care workers are currently under.
The ad was published in the Sunday version of the Minneapolis Star Tribune with "We're heartbroken. We're overwhelmed," at the top.
According to epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, Minnesota is a top-three state for new covid cases in the nation.
The state has also struggled with ICU beds filling and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz deploying national guard members to help understaffed health care centers.
"Our emergency departments are overfilled, and we have patients in every bed in our hospitals," the ad read. "This pandemic has strained our operations and demoralized many people on our teams."
Nine health care system executives signed the ad along with seven doctors.
The signatures included Gianricco Farrugia, the president and CEO of Mayo Clinic, Marc Gorelick, the president and CEO of Children's Minnesota, James Hereford, the president and CEO of Fairview Health Services, and Andrea Walsh, the president and CEO of HealthPartners.
The ad asks Minnesotans, and everyone else, to get vaccinated and a booster if eligible, wear a mask no matter vaccination status, social distance, get tested for the virus and encourage others to do the same.
When it comes to the efforts already being put in by Minnesotans, Osterholm acknowledged wanting to be done with the pandemic, but he stressed it isn't over yet.
"We definitely need to do more here, and I understand people are fatigued and tired. They are done with this pandemic," Osterholm said. "But the problem is this virus isn't done with us."
Currently, 3.4 million Minnesotans have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of J&J, according to the state's website. When it comes to boosters, 1.4 million have received an extra shot.
The ad emphasized the issue at hand: Understaffed hospitals do not have room to care for others when COVID-19 patients fill beds.
"Care in our hospitals is safe, but our ability to provide it is threatened," the ad reads. "At any time you or a loved one might need our support. Heart attacks. Car accidents. Cancer. Stroke. Appendicitis. Now an ominous question looms: will you be able to get care from your local community hospital without delay? Today that's uncertain."
The ad goes on to say that the situation can change if everyone works together.
"We're in this together, and we can only finish it together," the ad says.
Osterholm echoed this point, saying that people need to stay strong and continue to make good choices with the pandemic still looming.
"We're two years into this thing. People are tired of it. We're all tired of it. I'm tired of it," Osterholm said. "The challenge is, however, that doesn't mean the virus is done."