North Dakota hospitals are feeling the effects of the increase in COVID-19 cases.

The rise in positive COVID-19 cases impacts the community as a whole — especially hospitals that are seeing patients rolling in as they battle the virus.

“A majority of them are unvaccinated folks, which it means it skews a little bit younger and this is a nationwide trend. And it’s the same trend that we’re seeing in North Dakota, mostly they’re nonvaccinated folks,” said Dr. J’Patrick Fahn, the Director of Hospital Medicine and Critical Care for CHI St. Alexius Health.

According to the North Dakota Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard, there’s almost 13 percent of staffed beds available.

Both CHI St. Alexius and the Department of Health say staffing is what determines how many beds can be filled at one time.

“There has been a national trend towards less travel nurses, whether that’s because of burnout from previous COVID or other reasons. There’s travel staff that is just not out anymore. They’re not participating in travel companies,” said Fahn.

“Those numbers for us are decreasing in the number of staffed available beds. But the numbers that are reporting or the hospitals are reporting to us are staff available beds,” explained Tim Wiedrich, the Section Chief for the Health Resources and Response for the NDDOH.

Since last year, changes have been made when it comes to decision-making for operations and patients.

“We still maintain an incident command. We still maintain an essentialized core of employees, providers, physicians, nurses, quality staff, administration that can meet if necessary if things start to get too exciting,” Fahn.

With the majority of hospitalizations being those who are unvaccinated, the Department of Health says the only preventative is to get vaccinated.

We also reached out to Sanford Health who declined an on-camera interview, but said in a statement:

“We see a trend toward younger patients treated for the Delta variant and actively plan to accommodate as many COVID patients as we can. Since a significant majority of hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated we encourage everyone to get the vaccine to stop the spread and lower hospitalizations and deaths across our communities.”