A spokesperson for Mayo Clinic told NBC News in an email that the number - only from the nationwide medical system's Minnesota and Wisconsin locations - comprised nearly one-third of the 2,981 coronavirus cases among its Midwest staff since the start of the pandemic in March.
Williams said employees are often exposed and infected with the virus in the community.
"Our employees are often affected by social outbreaks (93% of staff infections) and this affects our ability to care for patients", Kelly Luxstein told CNN in an email Wednesday.
"We need to be very vigilant and not assume that things are going to settle down", she said. "And what worries us most is the staff". She said that while some Americans may get exhausted of hearing safety measures such as wearing masks and washing hands regularly, it is important to continue to take these precautions as the virus continues to spread across the country.
"We do this because we care about our communities", Williams said in the update. "We don't want families to be sick". We don't want families to lose loved ones. "We will get through this, but we need to be safe, we need to protect each other". Nurses on the frontline have expressed concern over their health and safety since they spend much more time with patients than all other healthcare workers, says Business Insider.
"We need your help".
"The public urgently needs to consider COVID-19 as a health emergency, which is to prevent the health care system from becoming overcrowded", the health organization said in a report last week.
"All of our hospitals are really stretched", Williams said.
"As we temporarily postpone electoral processes to clear beds for COVID-19 patients, the public needs to understand that we continue to care for other patient populations in addition to COVID patients - we remain open to trauma, emergency care and urgent care needs while caring for COVID patients".
Dr. Williams says there are now 115 COVID patients being treated in the Mayo Clinic's hospitals in Rochester, while the total for Mayo Clinic facilities in the midwest is over 250.
She added the system expects hospitalization rates to increase over the next two to four weeks.
"What we are most anxious about is staff, because we see our staff being exposed and getting COVID-19, mostly in the community. We continue to see more and more hospitalizations", he said.
The hospital system faces a major shortage of staff, and all ICU beds at its main campus are full.
Dr. Amy Williams, dean of clinical practices at the multi-state hospital system, announced the number on Tuesday during a call with reporters. "It tells us we're in a surge".