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UW Health opens new COVID unit at The American Center; admits some adult patients at children’s hospital

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Photo courtesy UW Health
UW Health at The American Center

MADISON (WKOW) -- UW Health has opened a new COVID-19 unit at The American Center clinic on the east side.

The new unit opened Monday and the first patient was admitted Tuesday.

A UW Health spokesperson tells 27 News the new COVID unit at The American Center (TAC) is for patients who need general care. They are sick enough to be admitted to a hospital, but do not usually require a ventilator or admission to an ICU.

Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health, says he hopes to keep ICU patients at the University Hospital on campus, because it will be more efficient to care for them all in one place.

"I don't know if we'll be able to do that for the duration of this pandemic, to keep all of our ICU at University Hospital. It would be nice if we could but we'll just have to see how it goes. Clearly, if we start splitting ICU care up, that's a whole nother level of things not looking very good for patients that have COVID-19."

The health system is also admitting some adult patients to American Family Children's Hospital because of a lack of hospital bed space.

"It just increases our footprint a little bit, so not large numbers of people over there, but a strategy that we're trying to use to just increase our ability to care for all the people who are looking to us right now for medical care," said Pothof.

UW Health says some adults 29 and younger who need a bed for recovery after surgery are being admitted to AFCH. These beds are not for COVID patients, but rather people who have had non-coronavirus related procedures.

Dr. Pothof says the hospital system is running out of good spaces to treat patients, but still has a few options.

So far, UW has only sent two people to the field hospital at State Fair Park, but he hopes they can send more there to help with space needs.

"If we have someone who's winning their fight, they're gonna make it. When they go to the ACF, they are giving someone else that chance to get better too," he said.

Pothof believes the Dane County order banning gatherings comes at the right time, but still doesn't go far enough to flatten the curve and keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

"Based on what we're seeing, we have to do something different," he said. "We're seeing other states take much more restrictive efforts. I know that scares people and none of us want that. But if we can buckle down for a short period of time, 30 days, get that curve flattened, then start to do strategic restrictions in areas where we're seeing the disease spread, that gets us through this period of time between now, where things are looking really pretty awful, and when we have that vaccine ready to go."

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Dani Maxwell

Dani Maxwell is the Assistant News Director for 27 WKOW.

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