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Sanford Health in Bismarck adding hospital beds, hiring new graduates for possible future need

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As cases continue to rise, so do hospitalizations.

848 people have been hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic here in North Dakota.

One concern is having the room for people who need extra medical attention.

Hospitals see many patients throughout the week, but throughout the on-going pandemic, that amount has only risen.

“The things a normal hospital has to deal with; accidents, heart attacks, stroke. Those things that happen all the time. The aspect of COVID is just another factor that has impacted our facilities in the hospitals,” said Renae Moch, Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Director.

The rolling 14 day average for Burleigh County is currently at 11.14 percent and Moch says it’s the elderly population that is being hospitalized the most.

“Whether that be because they have a compromised immune system or just not able to fight off the illness as well as a younger would. They seem to have more prevalence to hospitalization,” said Moch.

But the expansion of one hospital could meet the needs if necessary.

Sanford Health announced it will be adding 14 new beds to the main floor of its Bismarck medical center.

“We have people that really count on us. Not only from the Bismarck-Mandan area but really three hours away from here where we start to see patients coming. So I think the uniqueness is us being able to have a higher capacity in our medical center and also meet the needs of our increased volumes,” said Fred Fridley, Vice President of Operations for Sanford Health.

The 14 beds will include six intensive care units which will bring the total number of beds now to 242.

Each room will also include a negative pressure system.

“Which allows that air exchange to go directly outside so the air never exchanges not even with out in the hallway or another room. So our ability to house different patients doesn’t matter if it’s a medical patient or a COVID positive patient,” explained Fridley.

Sanford has also hired new graduates within the last year that will allow them to handle high volumes of patients if the need arises.

The new rooms aren’t there to treat COVID-19 patients exclusively, but are available.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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