GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) facilities across Wisconsin and Illinois have reached an unfortunate milestone raising several concerns among medical experts in the field.

According to HSHS officials, as of Friday, Jan. 7, their facilities had a record of 303 patients hospitalized and being treated for COVID-19 compared with the previous high of 293 patients in November 2020. These patients reportedly range from very young to elderly.

Looking further into these hospitalizations, the majority of patients are reportedly unvaccinated. A breakdown of COVID-19 hospitalizations in HSHS hospitals can be found below:

Vaccinated Unvaccinated
Patients in the hospital73 (24%) patients230 (76%) patients
Patients in the ICU 13 (20%) patients51 (80%) patients
Patients on ventilators5 (16%) patients 27 (84%) patients
Data provided by HSHS System

In addition to record-setting hospitalizations, HSHS also reports seven COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours. Six of those seven patients were unvaccinated. There are also currently nine COVID-19-positive pediatric patients in HSHS hospitals.

“To say we are concerned and disheartened cannot begin to explain our frustration,” says Dr. Marc Shelton, SVP and chief clinical officer for HSHS. “HSHS was hopeful to have turned a corner when the vaccine became readily available, but we are now well over a year into vaccine availability and yet our hospitals have reached a new record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations primarily due to unvaccinated patients.”

Furthermore, the increase in hospitalizations has also caused a rise in stress levels among healthcare personnel working to provide quality care for their patients.

“Although our hospitals are stressed and at near-capacity almost daily, HSHS continues to provide high-quality care to all patients,” says Ken Nelson, chief nursing executive, HSHS Wisconsin. “No one should delay care, especially emergent, for fear of COVID-19 or overloading any health care entity.”

However, while HSHS medical experts encourage residents to receive medical care when needed, they are asking community members not to go to hospitals or emergency rooms if they are seeking a COVID-19 test, but instead, receive a test at a local community testing site.

“HSHS encourages you to find local vaccine and testing locations in your community; do not come to an HSHS emergency room or an urgent care facility for a COVID-19 vaccine or test. Resources to provide these services to community members are unavailable unless a person is admitted to the hospital and meets the requirements for vaccination,” shared HSHS medical experts.

Moreover, HSHS joins a long line of hospitals across the state pleading with community members to get vaccinated; get boosted; stay home if they’re ill; and practice all safety measures including masking, social distancing, and increased handwashing.

As the numbers continue to rise in our communities, we strongly urge people to get vaccinated and get a booster shot… Our emergency rooms and urgent cares will continue to be available for emergent situations but should not be used for COVID-19 testing. Together, we can get through this.”