WILLMAR — Carris Health and its parent company CentraCare, which operates Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, are dealing with the largest surge of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.
Mike Schramm, co-CEO of Carris Health, said Friday that cases are increasing in and around Willmar.
“Our numbers are certainly higher than what they were when we saw an initial surge in May,” Schramm said.
Mike Schramm, Carris Health-Rice Memorial Hospital Co-CEO
Friday’s COVID-19 situation report from the Minnesota Department of Health reported 92 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kandiyohi County. Statewide there were 5,454 newly reported cases on Friday, the largest single daily total ever.
The rise in cases is having an impact on not only Rice Hospital, but other medical facilities across the area.
“It has put a significant strain on our health care system,” Schramm said.
Schramm said the pandemic has shown some of the benefits the hospital and the surrounding community have gained through the nearly 3-year-old merger with CentraCare of St. Cloud. He said the system has done a good job in planning for an increase in cases and taking care of patients as the need has arisen.
“I don’t know how we would have been able to deal with this if we were all separate, independent organizations like we were before,” Schramm said. “It has been a huge part of our response to COVID-19, the systemwide planning and preparedness efforts.”
What is needed now is the community’s assistance in doing what it can to slow the spread of COVID-19. The public can help by following the health safety procedures that have been urged since the pandemic began earlier this year.
“It is important for the community to be doing the right thing — masking, social distancing, avoiding group gatherings, those types of things,” Schramm said. “We need the community to do its part to help us through this.”