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Mayo Clinic plans to defer all elective care that it possibly can for eight or more weeks to free up resources to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic said Tuesday. 

Elective care includes elective surgeries, procedures and office visits. Semi-urgent, urgent and emergency care will continue in clinic and hospital settings. The deferment will begin March 23 at all Mayo Clinic locations nationwide. 

"This decision is being made to ensure the safest possible environment for our patients and staff and to free up resources to assist in Mayo Clinic's response to the COVID-19 pandemic," a statement said. "Staff working in impacted areas will be redeployed where needed most." 

The decision was made, Mayo officials say, after a review of the system's readiness in terms of its facilities, personnel, capacity and supply availability, and assessed community transmission within the regions it serves.

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