FOX VALLEY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Calumet County, Fond du Lac County, Outagamie County, Winnebago County

Fox Valley hospital nears capacity due to COVID-19, urges community to continue seeking care in emergency situations


NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – A Fox Valley hospital says it is nearing staffed-bed capacity to care for inpatient and COVID-19 patients.

ThedaCare says the number of COVID-19 patients needing inpatient care is not impacting their ability to safely care for patients in other emergency or routine care needs. The organization is urging the community to seek care in emergency situations, like heart attacks and strokes, and to continue planned and preventative care appointments at outpatient clinics and through telehealth options.

“It is important for our communities to know that hospitalizations have increased at an alarming rate in the past four weeks,” says Dr. Imran A. Andrabi, ThedaCare President and CEO. “Our work done early on in the pandemic allowed us to prepare for what we are now experiencing, allowing us to be nimble in allocating resources to serve our communities. We are executing our plans to do everything we can to provide excellent, safe care. That said, we face a serious situation today, as the Fox Valley region continues to experience a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases.”

Since March, ThedaCare says plans to triple bed capacity to address the surge have been dependent on the ability to staff those beds.

Over the past week, up to 250 ThedaCare team members have been absent each day due to illness, exposure, or quarantining, either for themselves or their families.

Ensuring adequate staff to manage current and projected volumes is a top priority. Since March, plans to triple bed capacity at ThedaCare to address the surge have been dependent on the ability to staff those beds. Over the past week, up to 250 ThedaCare team members have been absent each day due to illness, exposure or quarantining, for themselves or their families.

“We have one of the hardest working, most dedicated and compassionate teams of caregivers in health care,” adds Dr. Andrabi. “It is important to remember that capacity includes hospital beds and the team members required to care for the patients in the beds. Having a large number of patients who are positive for COVID-19 in our communities increases the likelihood our team members could be exposed to the virus.”

ThedaCare says it is possible that patients who require hospitalization may be transferred to other hospitals within the systems or to systems outside of the region. State leaders announced Wednesday that the 530-bed alternative care facility at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.

“We will continue to do more to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible,” said Dr. Andrabi. “We have been diligently working with local, state and federal authorities including the White House, HHS, FEMA, and US and state legislature to continue to look for creative solutions.”

ThedaCare says they need the community’s help to get the spread of COVID-19 under control.

They offer these tips to help slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid large gatherings, especially indoors
  • Wear a mask in public
  • Avoid handshakes, hugs and kisses
  • Wash hands often with soap and water
  • Clean and disinfect common household surfaces
  • Avoid people who are sick, stay away from others if you are sick
  • Get your flu shot early

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