Cases of COVID-19 here in Minnesota remain high, as is the need for hospital beds, including Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds for the most critical patients. With a predicted influx of COVID-19 cases from the holiday season, the situation could get worse. You can chart bed usage on the Department of Minnesota’s COVID-19 Response Page at:

Last week on Jan. 4, the number of total ICU beds in Minnesota was noted as 1,212, with a total of 1080 of those beds in use. It goes without saying that this is not the time to need intensive care. Still, doctors at the Urgency Room’s three locations in Vadnais Heights, Woodbury and Eagan  are continuing to see patients who are ignoring symptoms that signal emergency medical conditions like heart attacks, sepsis and appendicitis.

Now is the time to make sure persistent symptoms, pain or other health concerns of non Covid-19 related conditions are identified and treated right away so you don’t end up needing a hospital bed while Minnesota works to maintain an ample supply into the winter months when COVID-19 numbers continue to strain hospitals and staff. Here is a look at four conditions that concern doctors at The Urgency Room the most and the symptoms associated with these conditions. 


Condition: Heart attack 

Signs you should be seen:

• Chest pain, chest pressure or shortness of breath

• Pain between shoulder blades, arm, chest, jaw, left arm or upper abdomen

• Dizziness

• Heartburn with or without nausea

• Palpitations (sensation of rapid or irregular heartbeat)

• Anxiety or feeling of impending doom

• New or worsening leg swelling

• Shortness of breath with laying flat


Condition: Sepsis (a life-threatening illness caused by your body’s response 

to an infection)

Signs you should be seen:

• You already have been diagnosed with an infection like pneumonia, a kidney infection, abdominal infection and are getting worse 

• New fever after initial improvement or fever that persists despite treatment of your infection

• New rash or patches of discolored skin

• Confusion or changes in mental ability

• Feeling very weak or having trouble walking

• Signs of dehydration such as persistent vomiting or diarrhea or can’t keep fluids down


Condition: Appendicitis

Signs you should be seen:

• Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen

• Sudden pain that begins around your navel and often shifts to your lower right abdomen

• Pain that worsens if you cough, walk or make other jarring movements.

• Persistent nausea and vomiting


Let’s diagnose and treat serious medical issues before they become severe and require high level intensive care and put further pressure on an already limited supply of hospital beds and medical staff during what is predicted to be the toughest stretch of the pandemic. The Urgency Room location in Vadnais Heights is staffed with board-certified emergency physicians as well as full CT equipment, ultrasound, radiology capabilities and a high-complexity lab. To learn more, go to


Kristi Trussell is the Medical Director of The Urgency Room.

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