MILWAUKEE – Frontline workers in Wisconsin are facing head-on an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Data from Milwaukee County shows the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients is the highest since December 2020.
“It’s been tough lately. The hospital has been very busy,” said Dr Jeff Pothof of UW Health.
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Ahead of his emergency room visit on Wednesday, Pothof described his reality in treating a growing number of COVID-19 patients who need immediate care.
“It’s going to be difficult because some of them can’t breathe. It’s scary for them,” Pothof said. “A lot of them will not be vaccinated. They will have regrets. Some of them will even ask that they can be vaccinated tonight, but I will have to let them know that it is too late.”
Data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association shows that hospitals in the state are filling up quickly.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 93% of hospital beds are in use, with more than 1,700 patients hospitalized for complications from COVID-19 – the second-highest total this year.
In Milwaukee County, 434 patients are hospitalized with complications from COVID-19 – the highest score since early December 2020.
Dr Ben Weston, chief health policy adviser for Milwaukee County, said the omicron variant poses another challenge. It may not be as bad as the Delta or other past variants, but early data shows it’s more contagious.
“When you have a lot more transmissibility, you have to reduce your severity a bit to equalize your hospitalizations, and I’m not sure that severity decreases that much,” Weston said.
This means the burden on Wisconsin hospitals could only get worse in the weeks to come.
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