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Duluth hospitalizations on the rise, but not the reason you might think

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DULUTH, MN-- Minnesota reported 1,169 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday alone, across the state.

"Some of the most rapid growth recently is happening here in greater Minnesota," said Dr. Jon Pryor, President of Essentia Health's East Market.

But officials from both Essentia Health and St. Luke's said it's not COVID-19 related patients that are keeping their hospitals busy.

Pryor added, "Many patients who needed either preventive care or who have chronic diseases like hypertension, chronic heart failure, or a multitude of health issues have been reluctant to seek medical care."

Officials say with much delaying medical care either routine appointments or preventative procedures, they're seeing many of these patients in the emergency room or overnight visits.

"If you need care please come see us, the alternative could be disastrous," pleaded Pryor.

As we head into flu and respiratory season, doctors said the perfect storm of illnesses could be on the way.

Pryor said, "Unfortunately we have the potential for a perfect storm of COVID patients, flu patients, and an increase in patients with medical problems because they have not gotten the care they need."

They're urging everyone to continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance.

"We can't only think about ourselves because if we can work together as a community, we can keep all of our neighbors safe but we can't go in it alone," said St. Luke's Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Andrew Thompson.

Hospital officials are encouraging everyone to get a flu shot this year.

With the holiday season coming, they say you might want to reconsider any plans that involve large gatherings, especially indoors.

While health officials are seeing an increase, they aren't hitting full capacity.

And there are plans in place should that occur.

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Emma Quinn

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