A shortage of staff and beds are issues local hospitals are facing as COVID-19 rise throughout Wisconsin.

Alison Page, Chief Executive Officer at Baldwin’s West Wisconsin Health (WWH) said as of last Friday, the hospital had one inpatient bed available.

At that time WWH had seven employees out who were COVID-19 positive. Eleven more employees were out due to circumstances related to COVID-19 – either quarantined themselves, or home with family members who are quarantined.

Page said hospital capacity in the region is very tight. “It is challenging to transfer patients needing a higher level of care to the Twin Cities or to Eau Claire. Elective procedures are being limited in some area hospitals if it is anticipated the procedure may require the patient to be hospitalized. We continue to monitor our census daily and make the decision to proceed with scheduled procedures based on resource availability,” she said.

Wisconsin is divided into seven regional healthcare emergency readiness coalitions. WWH is in the Northwest Hospital Region 1. Counties include: Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Polk, Barron, Rusk, Saint Croix, Dunn, Chippewa, Pierce, Pepin, and Eau Claire. There are 26 hospitals in Region 1. Friday, November 6th, 566 of the 674 staffed beds in the region are full – that means 83.9% of hospital beds staffed are full.

As of Friday, 1,774 people were hospitalized in the state of Wisconsin due to COVID-19, 376 of them in the ICU. Eau Claire hospitals are nearing capacity. Sixty-two deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Wisconsin that day alone.

As of Friday, 1,040 people are hospitalized in the State of Minnesota due to COVID-19, 224 of them in the ICU. In just the Metro Area: 609 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, 135 in ICU. Twin Cities hospitals are reporting “critical” capacity levels – meaning they have very little ability to accept new patients. Thirty-six deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Minnesota Friday.

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