Kelli Koob,

Local businesses assist North Shore Health in COVID-19 preparation, beds stockpiled

In March, a message went out to local businesses from the Cook County Chamber—North Shore Health needed help to prepare for a possible influx of COVID-19 pandemic patients. According to Chamber Director Jim Boyd, the hospital had been asked how many patient beds it could provide if it used all available areas of the hospital. Director Boyd asked lodging establishments if they could help provide 100 twin beds.

The answer from the local hospitality industry was swift—very few hotels or lodges use twin beds these days. However, one business owner, Dennis Rysdahl, president of Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior said he could help by finding beds through his supply sources.

As his resort units were shuttered, Rysdahl researched and found two roll-away bed styles. After approval from North Shore Health Administrator Kimber Wraalstad, Rysdahl had 30 of each style shipped to Cook County. If the beds are needed, the hospital will determine which style works best and more can be ordered.

The beds are stockpiled in a storage facility owned by Jack Stone of Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply.

In addition to helping the hospital in finding appropriate beds for use at the hospital, Rysdahl said many of the condo owners at Bluefin Bay Resort had offered to open their units for use for people on the North Shore needing a safe place to quarantine. Bluefin Bay is also available for anyone needing shelter in a domestic violence situation.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Bluefin’s Dennis Rysdahl to learn how this all came about.