Wisconsin health and business leaders plead with public to follow COVID guidelines

Aurora BayCare Medical Center says nurses are coming from Milwaukee and Illinois to help with the COVID-19 fight
Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 11:40 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - As COVID-19 reaches crisis levels in Wisconsin, health care and business organizations are banding together in effort to convince the public to take the virus seriously.

“Wisconsin is in a troubling and worsening place when it comes to COVID. A situation we need to take seriously and work together to turn around. The condition of our pandemic is visible in the alarming increase in COVID infections. And for the past month, daily new records in COVID hospitalizations. Reaching the 900 mark yesterday, tripling in the last 30 days, and so far, showing no signs of slowing down,” said Eric Borgerding, Wisconsin Hospital Association President and CEO.

Stop the COVID Spread! is a campaign aimed at teaching the public about the seriousness of the virus that continues to infect thousands each day. They held a news conference Friday to announce the partnership.

Wisconsin Hospital Association briefing, Oct. 9

FIRST ALERT: Wisconsin Hospital Association holds briefing on "growing COVID crisis."

Posted by WBAY TV-2 on Friday, October 9, 2020

The chief medical officer for Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Dr. Brian Johnson, also held a media conference on Friday.

Dr. Johnson said the hospital’s number concern is staffing and hospital beds.

“At our Aurora BayCare Medical Center, we have 25 in patient cases this morning. Twelve at Bay-Area Medical Center. Eighteen in Oshkosh, and five in-patient cases at our Manitowoc county hospital hospital,” Johnson said.

While it’s seeing an increase in hospitalizations for covid-19, the hospital added that patients aren’t as sick as they were in the spring.

“We do have better treatment that helps alleviate symptoms and length of stay and the severity of the symptoms overall,” Dr. Johnson said.

According to Aurora, nurses from the Milwaukee area and Illinois will be going to northeast Wisconsin to help deal with the surge in patients.

Wisconsin is one of the worst in the country for new cases with nearly 3,000 cases reported on Friday. Just on Thursday, the state set a record for new cases.

“Wisconsin is one of the hottest of all the COVID hotspots in the United States,” Dr. Mark Kaufman of the Wisconsin Hospital Association said. “We trail only California and Texas in the number of new cases in the last seven days, despite our population being much smaller than both of those states.”

The effort by the hospital association also encourages people to continue hand washing, social distancing and masking.

“The direct and indirect impacts of COVID spread in our communities are increasingly stressing parts of our outstanding health care system, weighing down local health departments and continuing to challenge our health care heroes--those nurses, custodians, doctors, technicians and many others who keep working long hours behind masks, behind face shields, in gowns and gloves, to keep Wisconsin’s great health care accessible and safe,” Borgerding said.

Borgerding said COVID’s impact reaches beyond health care.

RELATED: ThedaCare nearing staffed-bed capacity for inpatients, COVID-19 patients

Members of the coalition include the Wisconsin Hospital Association, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Restaurant Association.

“We hope that with this coalition and the message that we send, that others around the state will take us up on the challenge to do the same. Whether it’s personally in their homes or the businesses, or their daily lives. Take the simplest of efforts to take those steps to sanitize. To make sure you treat others the same way you would like to be treated. To make sure those essential workers in businesses across the state are kept safe,” said Brandon Scholz, President and CEO, Wisconsin Grocers Association.

RELATED: Wisconsin activates field hospital as COVID keeps surging

A public service announcement will be broadcast statewide. There is also a digital campaign.

“We must successfully address COVID-19. We have some of the greatest minds in our nation working around the clock to develop a pharmaceutical solution ot COVID-19. And we are all very hopeful that they will be successful But until that success arrives, there is something that we can do, on our own, right now, right here in Wisconsin. We can wear a mask. We can wash our hands. We can socially distance. These are not hard things. We ask that you do this not only for the today, here and now, but for the future of Wisconsin,” said Mark O’Connell, Executive Director, of Wisconsin Counties Association.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association on Thursday reported 907 COVID-19 hospital admissions, a one-day increase of 34 and seven-day increase of 238. Of those patients, 228 are in the ICU.

CLICK HERE to track COVID-19 hospitalizations.

CLICK HERE for statewide numbers.

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