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Local hospitals report increase in staff exposure to COVID-19 and positive cases

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Two Madison-area hospital systems are concerned over an increase in staff exposure to COVID-19, as well as an increased number of staff testing positive for the virus.

It comes as many hospitals struggle with a surge in patients. Aspirus says it plans to send patients who don't need intensive care home in order to make room for more serious patients.

Mayo Clinic says more than 900 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks.

Locally, UnityPoint Health - Meriter tells 27 News they're tracking employees who test positive, but could not share an exact number. The health system went on to say the number of employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 has increased.

We do closely track employee covid positives. As you can imagine, it has a tremendous impact on our ability to staff beds. At this time, I’m not comfortable sharing the tests result data since it is private health information of our team members. However, I will tell you that the number of employees who’ve been exposed to COVID and required testing has definitely gone up in recent weeks as community spread has also increased. The vast majority of exposures are happening in the community. Our employees live here, so as community spread increases, so does their risk.

Leah Huibregtse, UnityPoint Health - Meriter Spokesperson

UW Health confirmed to 27 News the system has seen an increase in staff who have contracted COVID-19. A spokesperson would not share numbers.

We take many precautions to protect staff and providers at our hospitals and clinics. But there is significant spread of COVID-19 throughout our community and we have seen an increase in staff who test positive. In addition, many staff who do not contract COVID-19 also need to be quarantined due to exposures or symptoms that are ultimately not related to the virus.

Emily Kumlien, UW Health Spokesperson

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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