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Wisconsin hospitals are at capacity due to increase in COVID-19 cases

Michelle Maternowski

Hospitals across Wisconsin have reached capacity or are close to reaching capacity because of an increase in COVID-19 cases. According to state health officials, the seven-day average for new infections in Wisconsin is more than 3,000, which is the highest it’s been in a year. Officials also say more than 98% of hospital beds across the state are currently in use.

At a Department of Health Services briefing Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers said the state wants to help hospital workers who are seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients.

"Our health care workers have been on the front lines of this pandemic since day one,” Evers said. “They put their health and safety on the line to treat our loved ones, and just as we have throughout the pandemic, we need to be doing everything we can to help support them, lighten their burden and ensure that they can stay healthy and safe to do their jobs.”

Karen Timberlake, the department’s health secretary, said the state is working to support hospital workers by asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to provide more staffing for Wisconsin hospitals. The Department of Health Services will also be using an additional $11.5 million in CDC funds to assist long term care facilities in training more nurses and strengthening infection prevention measures. But Timberlake said one of the most important steps is getting more people vaccinated.

The bottom line is that we will continue to make every effort to make sure our hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living providers have what they need to care for all of us,” Timberlake said. “In order to do this successfully, we must prevent further strain on Wisconsin's health and long-term care providers, and we cannot do this without you.”

Timberlake said getting more people vaccinated will be a big step toward decreasing the strain on Wisconsin’s hospitals.

In 2021, Simone Cazares was WUWM's Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She later became a WUWM reporter.
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