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ThedaCare says it had no ICU beds Tuesday as covid patients require longer stays

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:48 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:38 PM CDT
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NEENAH, Wis. (WBAY) - A Fox Valley health system reports it had no intensive care beds available Tuesday due to Covid-19 patients staying longer at hospitals.

This comes as Wisconsin health officials say the seven day average of cases has increased 128% over the last month and doubled in the last week.

ThedaCare President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Imran Andrabi said the covid situation in Northeast Wisconsin has grown dire since children returned to the classroom.

“What we’re unfortunately seeing is a quadrupling of the number of positive cases in our region over the last five days, younger and younger people getting admitted to the hospital,” Dr. Andrabi said. “80% plus of those folks are unvaccinated unfortunately.”

ThedaCare has seven hospitals in its health system serving 20 counties, and on Tuesday it did not have any ICU beds available. The hospitalization of covid patients has been taxing on resources and hospital staff.

“The death rate may not be that high but they are staying in the hospital for a longer period of time, and it’s taking them a long period to recover,” Andrabi said.

ThedaCare announced on Wednesday it is requiring all hospital staff to be vaccinated by November 22. The Biden administration stated on September 9, companies with a 100 or more employees are required to mandate vaccinations.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services held a media briefing Wednesday, saying that while cases in other states such as California have plateaued, there’s no evidence that’s happening in the Badger State.

“What we’d have to say looking at the trend line on our new positive cases is that we are not at a plateau yet. We are not leveling off. We are still seeing a concerning rate of growth,” DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake said.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer for the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, added that there wasn’t any evidence to suggests covid cases have peaked in Wisconsin.

“It does make a difference how we respond, and if we use the preventive strategy, if we maximize vaccination, we have the best chance at minimizing this surge,” Westergaard said.

DHS data showed the number of Covid-19 cases for children ages 9 to 13 has increased since classes began.

According to the agency, it has the infrastructure in place to get 5 to 11 year old’s vaccinated once the Food and Drug Administration grants emergency use of the vaccine for that group.

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