Updated 3 p.m.
Fairview Health Services said Monday it will close two hospitals in St. Paul as part of a major restructuring.
Bethesda Hospital near the Capitol will be leased to Ramsey County to be used as a homeless shelter. St. Joseph’s downtown will become a "community hub for health and wellness."
The major restructuring will eliminate about 900 positions.
Fairview said it lost $163 million in the first six months of this year, and the pandemic has exacerbated its financial challenges.
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Fairview also said it plans to consolidate 14 primary care clinics in Minnesota and two in Wisconsin into other locations. Six pharmacies will also close.
Bethesda Hospital was a key, early piece of the state’s response to COVID-19 when officials were concerned that waves of COVID-19 patients might overwhelm the state’s care system. Bethesda was retrofitted to become a specialty center for the most severe cases.
Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Fairview leaders briefed state officials Monday and were assured that the health system would use beds at St. Joseph’s and other Fairview sites to keep COVID-19 capacity “about where it is.”
COVID-19 in Minnesota
Data in these graphs are based on the Minnesota Department of Health's cumulative totals released at 11 a.m. daily. You can find more detailed statistics on COVID-19 at the Health Department website.
The coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets, coughs and sneezes, similar to the way the flu can spread.