Dr. David Hilden: It's not business as usual inside hospital ICUs

COVID-19 cases in Minnesota increased by 3,655 on Monday as the Minnesota Department of Health also reported 46 additional deaths statewide.

As the Omicron and Delta variants worry medical experts across the country, Hennepin Healthcare's Dr. David Hilden said on Tuesday that the public needs to understand it's not business as usual inside hospitals.

"Most of the time our ICU beds are simply full and if one becomes available, it's not available for very long," Dr. Hilden told WCCO Radio's Paul Douglas. "I'm talking an hour or so because someone is waiting in the emergency department for that bed."

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While he didn't provide exact numbers. Dr. Hilden said that the number of COVID-19 patients had increased substantially compared to "many months ago."

"We probably have 30 or 40 people in the hospital with COVID and in the ICUs, we have very large ICUs at Hennepin Healthcare, but many of them have COVID," he added.

Hilden said the patient makeup inside the hospital is not what many would expect, but there is a common theme: Those in the hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

"It's very uncommon for vaccinated people to be deathly ill with COVID-19," Dr. Hilden said. "The vast majority are unvaccinated and they're younger. We're seeing younger people, not older adults, adults in the 30s, 40s, and 50s on life-support. And they're all unvaccinated."

Hilden's insight came just two days after nine of the major health care providers in Minnesota ran an ad saying they were heartbroken and overwhelmed as ICUs statewide fill to capacity.

"We're just at the point where we feel the public needs to know it's not business as usual in our healthcare system," added Hilden. "The heartbroken part is that this is all preventable. Almost all of this COVID disease that we're seeing is preventable if people do what they know they need to do."