As Wisconsin ICU beds dwindle, family says COVID-19 proved nearly fatal for mom

Nancy Van Dyn Hoven has been hospitalized for the past two months at Ascension St. Elizabeth in Appleton.
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 5:56 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Stacey Arnoldussen says she’s clueless as to how her mother contracted COVID-19.

She was diagnosed in September at the same time as Arnoldussen’s father, yet he’s made a full recovery.

“My dad immediately got her to the emergency room, and that’s when they told us that her blood oxygen level was at 20 percent -- that basically my dad saved her by bringing her in,” Arnoldussen said.

In a story you’ll only see on Action 2 News, Arnoldussen’s 60-year-old mother has been in the intensive care unit of Ascension St. Elizabeth in Appleton for the past two months. Nancy Van Dyn Hoven is currently battling both COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Van Dyn Hoven was described by her daughter as a healthy person. Still, Arnoldussen said COVID has ravaged her mother’s lungs.

“They made the decision on October 13 to put her on the ventilator to save her life because she needed the machine to help her breathing,” Arnoldussen said.

Van Dyn Hoven’s family credited the staff at Ascension St. Elizabeth for going above and beyond for their mom and for making her feel comfortable during this trying time.

Arnoldussen said her mom is a huge fan of Luke Bryan and a nurse caught wind of it, and placed a cut-out of the musician in her room.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, 12 percent of ICU beds are open in the Fox Valley, while in Northeast Wisconsin that figure is four percent.

Arnoldussen said she hates hearing people say COVID is a hoax.

“We believe that these poor patients…need more than just phone calls. They need hope, and they need their family and loved ones,” Arnoldussen said.

Van Dyn Hoven is awaiting a transfer to a long-term care facility in Madison to help her with her recovery.

In the meantime, Arnoldussen said she’s raising money for the staff and Covid patients at Ascension St. Elizabeth. If you’re interested in learning more, you can email her at

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