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A wave of hospitalizations across Wis. ups the stress for rural hospitals

“There isn’t any place that’s [not] being affected by this virus," the VP of nursing at Upland Hills Health said.
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 10:23 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Hospital beds are filling up in Dodgeville, pointing to a greater “surge in hospitalizations,” as reported by the Department of Health Services.

Wisconsin surpassed a thousand COVID-19 hospitalizations Thursday, according to DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm. “In some regions of the state, our ICU beds are 90 percent or more full. Those numbers, while stark, don’t factor in staffing shortages, which we are seeing in every region of the state,” she said.

This week, Iowa County reported its first COVID-related death. Lynn Hebgen shared with NBC15, the patient fought the battle at her hospital—Upland Hills Health in Dodgeville.

“We’re not really at our peak yet here, but we see that it is approaching,” Hebgen, the vice president of nursing, said. Despite fears that larger hospitals will peak at the same time and will be unable to take in her patients, Hebgen maintains her hospital has “some very good plans in place.”

Sauk Prairie Healthcare, like Upland Hills, can take in new coronavirus patients at this time. But hospital spokesperson Ken Carlson said the latest surge has slowed the process of transferring patients out to larger hospitals.

“There was a sense that maybe we’ll escape this, maybe this will skirt by us,” Hebgen said, referring to Iowa County residents. “But definitely later in the summer, the fall, the cases are entering our county and definitely spreading to a higher degree.”

She continued, “I do think it’s important for everyone who are citizens of our state and our nation to understand there isn’t any place that’s [not] being affected by this virus.”

Despite the increased activity at Upland Hills, physicians say anyone needing urgent care should not hesitate to come.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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