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COVID-19 influx forces SSM Health’s Monroe hospital suspends some procedures

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 11:16 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Facing an unprecedented number of COVID-19 patients filling its hospital beds, administrators at SSM Health’s facility in Monroe suspended some non-urgent care procedures.

In a statement explaining the move, SSM Health pointed out hospital staff have never cared for as many COVID-19 patients at one time as it has right now. That includes this time last year when cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the state were shattering records.

“We have the additional strain of increased COVID-19 cases within our county and region,” said Chelsea Hardacre, the VP of Patient Care for SSM Health Monroe Hospital and Monroe Clinic Medical Group.

The ban on select non-urgent procedures goes into effect on Monday, Nov. 22, the hospital indicated. It did not detail which procedures would be placed on hold for now, but noted those who are affected will be contacted about rescheduling their appointments.

“We really had to dive into the surgical cases that we will be performing over the next several weeks and determine which have the least risk to the patient’s health if we postpone them for a short period of time,” said Hardacre.

Hardacre went on to say that the vast majority of cases over the next few weeks will not be rescheduled.

SSM Health Monroe Hospital and Monroe Clinic Medical Group are also dealing with staffing shortages.

“Healthcare is an industry that has been plagued by stepping shortages for many years,” said Hardacre. “The pandemic has only increased those staffing shortages that we experience.”

For now, administrators urge community members eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine who have not received their first dose to go get one, and for everyone to continue to wear a mask and socially distance when needed.

“We’re really asking for the community to partner with us during this time,” said Hardacre.

SSM Health emphasized that Thursday’s move only affects the Monroe Hospital and Monroe Clinic Medical Group. No changes are being implemented at this time at any other of its Wisconsin facilities.

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