Currently, there are 29 ICU beds available in hospitals across North Dakota.
Renae Moch, with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, says there are a number of contributing factors for the limited amount of beds.
The main reason is the amount of COVID-19 patients who are currently occupying the beds.
Another issue is staffing. With a limited amount of staff, they cannot fill every bed in the hospital without enough medical professionals to tend to patients.
“There could be a facility in the state that has 100 beds but they’re only having the staff that has 50 beds available. And so just because they have a bed doesn’t mean they have the staff to work and take care of those patients,” said Moch.
Currently in Bismarck, there is only one ICU bed between Sanford Health and CHI St. Alexius.
The reason being is hospitals in major cities like Minot, Bismarck and Fargo take in patients from surrounding and rural communities.
“If we have any small town hospitals that are unable to handle patients of severe level, they often move to the larger hospitals to take care of those patients. And so if we don’t have the ICU beds available there looking at maybe other places outside of the state to be able to transfer them,” explained Moch.
Moch says this could become a serious issue with the upcoming flu season and people who have emergencies like a stroke.