MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – The first patient has been admitted into Wisconsin’s Alternate Care Facility at Wisconsin State Fair Park.

This comes as the state reported more than 4,000 new cases and 48 more COVID-19 related deaths – that’s the highest one-day increase in deaths Wisconsin has seen.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced the opening of a field hospital at the state fairgrounds in early October as a surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

Gov. Evers released a statement on Wednesday after the record number of deaths were reported, saying,

“We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today. Folks, please stay home. Help us protect our communities from this highly-contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”

As of Tuesday, only about 17% of Wisconsin’s hospital beds are immediately available. Wisconsin hospitals are reporting nearly 1,200 total COVID-19 patients with over 300 being in an ICU.

“With record high numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations, and staffing shortages, there has never been a more critical time for Wisconsinites to act and help stop the spread,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “That’s why we ask all Wisconsinites to do their part. Stay home, wear a mask and stay six feet apart when you go out for your essential errands, avoid gatherings and events, and wash your hands. These steps are some of the most effective tools we have to overcome this pandemic.”

The alternate care facility will now accept patients who meet specific clinical criteria directly from hospitals’ Emergency Departments, administer Remdesivir, and increase its oxygen treatment capability.

DHS says Wisconsin continues to see high levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations with some regions reporting over 90% utilization of ICU beds. The 7-day average of new cases reached nearly 3,500 for the first time since the pandemic began. 

“Wisconsin health systems are doing all they can to provide quality care to their patients, but hospitals are facing incredible operational challenges as COVID-19 continues to surge throughout the state,” said Deb Standridge, CEO of the ACF at Wisconsin State Fair Park. “Although it is unfortunate that Wisconsin is at this place with the virus, I am thankful that the ACF is available to provide a much needed release valve for our hospital systems who may find themselves overwhelmed with hospitalizations, as well as provide valuable care for COVID patients.”

Latest Stories