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Some non-elective procedures pushed back to free up beds for COVID-19 patients

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With the rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations, you might be asked by your health care provider to push back your procedure to save beds for coronavirus patients.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,439 COVID-19 patients were being treated in Wisconsin hospitals, the largest number since the pandemic began, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

With resources stretched thin for hospitals, health care providers like UW-Health are beginning to postpone some non-emergency procedures which is being determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW-Health says they are postponing a small number of procedures.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get the care you need but Dr. Pothof said it just depends because each day is different. Some days hospitals may need extra beds to care for COVID patients, and other days beds might not be in high demand.

Dr. Pothof estimates you might be asked to push pack a non-emergency procedure to about a week. 

“Careful, strategic decision making, case by case, because we are trying to do everything for everyone but realizing with limited space we have to start making some of those decisions.”

The discussion is on-going whether or not to postpone certain procedures daily, said Pothof, but he added hospitals likely won't get to the point where the state was this spring when a majority of non-elective procedures were rescheduled.

Early on in the pandemic hospitals decided to cancel surgeries in part because they needed time to adjust how they can safely treat patients.

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Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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