Advertisement

Rural hospitals report spike in COVID-19 deaths, cases

In the last six weeks, Wisconsin hospitals are reporting an increase in COVID-19 activity.
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:37 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 7:19 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BEAVER DAM, Wis. (WMTV) - In the last six weeks, south central Wisconsin hospitals are reporting an increase in COVID-19 activity.

According to the South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (SCWIHERC), from July 28 to September 1, the total number of hospitalizations increased four-fold across the region. In that same timeframe, there were 5.5 times the number of COVID-19 ICU hospitalizations.

Jennifer Behnke, a coordinator for the South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, says there are a number of contributing factors.

Many hospitals are dealing with delayed care from the first wave of COVID-19 a year ago. Behnke also says the summer months typically see an increase in severe injuries due to outdoor activities.

“We’re all just seeing high overhaul hospitalization for various things related to covid and not related to COVID,” said Behnke.

However, hospitals are now reporting an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“It’s certainly not backing down,” said Behnke.

At Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam, Chief Administrative Officer Angelia Foster is concerned.

“The trajectory doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” said Foster. “It seems to only be getting worse.”

According to the latest data from the Department of Health Services, 1 in 487 residents of Dodge County have died from COVID-19. In the last 15 days, nine deaths related to COVID-19 were reported.

“We’re seeing death increase,” said Foster. “We had gone months without any significant COVID-19 related deaths.”

She says the loss of a patient can be hard in a smaller community.

“It means they are the family, friends, and neighbors of our staff,” said Foster. “It’s the people they see at the grocery store. It’s their next-door neighbor. It’s their kids’ soccer coach. It takes a toll on them.”

Health officials within the Sauk Prairie Healthcare system say there is a large surge in COVID-19 patients.

“It’s rapidly escalated over the last three weeks,” said Shawn Lerch, the Chief Executive Officer for Sauk Prairie Healthcare. “Increased admissions that we haven’t seen since January for COVID-19 patients.”

Lerch says hospital staff have a growing frustration over the loss of life.

“Every death impacts the team because they see that as a failure they could have prevented,” said Lerch. “We just want people to ask the questions and understand how the vaccine and other mitigation strategies can prevent these deaths.”

Hospital officials are encouraging people in smaller communities to get vaccinated and wear masks when inside public spaces.

“This is a war and we need to use every and all tools available to us to defend ourselves against this war,” said Foster.

“The pandemic will end but the length the level of damage on both our physical and mental health and the toll on the vibrancy of our communities truly depends on each of us,” added Lerch.

Hospital beds in Wisconsin are filled up to the highest level they’ve been at Thursday than has ever been reported on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Click HERE to see the latest data.

Hospital beds in Wisconsin are filled up to the highest level they’ve been at Thursday than has ever been reported on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Copyright 2021 WMTV. All rights reserved.