A continued rise of COVID-19 infections among healthcare workers in Minnesota is renewing a call to the public to take mandates more seriously.
"What's happening is so many [nurses] are coming down with COVID-19 and so just when our hospitals are full to the brim, about one month ago we had nine ICU nurses out at my hospital and recently we had 12 emergency room nurses out," said Minnesota Nurses Association president, Mary Turner.
Turner, who is also an ICU nurse at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale, told WCCO Radio's Jearlyn Steele on Wednesday that the pandemic is taking a toll on some of the most fragile parts of the state.
"Grand Marais, a critical access hospital, has 14 nurses that man that hospital," Turner said. "Five of them were out with COVID. I observed two things with. The first being how dangerous that would be for that community to have that many nurses sick, but also how far and wide that COVID has spread in Minnesota."
The rising rates of infected healthcare workers continues to act as a reminder to people out in public to wear masks while socially and physically distancing.
"I'm getting less and less patience for people who are out in the community not wearing a masks. I actually have a visceral reaction when I come upon people who are not wearing masks," Turner said. "As an experienced COVID-19 nurse who's been in the field since the end of February, I know I have skills that can save someone's life. To do that, I need to stay safe and healthy myself."