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Flood of COVID-19 patients puts strain on south-central Wisconsin hospitals

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MADISON (WKOW) -- With COVID-19 case rates climbing due to the rapid spread of the delta variant, Wisconsin hospitals are under more strain than ever. Some in south-central Wisconsin are calling on communities for help.

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According to a news release from the South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (SCWIHERC), COVID-19 hospitalizations increased four times over between July 28 and September 1 in the south-central region. This surge, which includes 5.5 times the number of ICU admissions, has left many rural hospitals without ICU beds.

The spike in COVID cases has left hospitals with minimal resources to treat other medical issues. In order to start reversing the tide, SCWIHERC is asking communities and residents to stay committed to fighting the pandemic wherever they can.

"To better control the situation, the hospitals are urging everyone to continue being vigilant with COVID-19 safety measures, such as receiving any COVID-19 vaccine, masking, and physically distancing where appropriate," SCWIHERC said in the release.

With beds at a premium, the main goal is preventing the need for further hospital admissions. SCWIHERC has noted a similar rise in case rates to the spike from fall and winter of 2020, coinciding with the start of the new school year and colder weather keeping people indoors.

"We're caught crossing corners of the state going, transferring patients to opposite corners of the state just to find an empty bed," said Jennifer Behnke, coalition coordinator of South Central WI Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (SCWIHERC)

Peter Culver

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