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With blizzard howling outside, Mayo Clinic Hospital employees sleep in the cafeterias

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The cafeterias of Mayo Clinic-Saint Marys and Methodist were a lot more crowded over the weekend than usual, and you can blame it on the Blizzard of 2019.

For many hospital employees this past weekend, camping out at Mayo was all in a day’s work.  And, of course, the next day.

Without a safe way to get employees home, or confidence that they’d be able to make it back in to work, a little Minnesota ingenuity and practicality kicked in.  In its own calculated and thorough way, Mayo realized what was coming and “activated its Emergency Staffing Plan.”

Simply put, a lot of people slept overnight in the cafeterias, and other unusual places.

“Due to staff not being able to travel after their shift, Mayo provided sleep spaces to staff throughout the campus, including the staff cafeterias,” explained Kelley Luckstein, a Mayo spokesperson. “This service allowed staff a safe option for sleeping, along with ensuring that we had adequate staffing to provide quality patient care during the storm.”

Luckstein was not able to give KTTC a guestimate on how many people stayed at work as Mayo Clinic’s overnight guests before going back to work.  But it’s certainly now the stuff of legend at the place famous for proclaiming it is where the needs of the patient come first… even in a ferocious Minnesota blizzard.

Noel Sederstrom

Noel Sederstrom joined the KTTC-TV staff as News Director in February, 2008. He’s a native Minnesotan, having grown up on a farm near Litchfield, and also spending a lot of time on Lake Vermilion near Tower-Soudan, where his grandfather Gust Saari worked in the Soudan Underground Mine.

After studying journalism at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, Noel worked as a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer at television stations in Duluth, Little Rock, Buffalo, Louisville and Kalamazoo, Michigan. Noel was the News Director at WWMT-TV in Kalamazoo for seven of his 18 years at the CBS affiliate before returning to Minnesota. He and his wife Cindy have two grown children and make their home in Rochester.

Email Noel at

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