COVID-19 Patients Have Driven Mayo to 100% Hospital Capacity in Region
Governor: Thousands more may die by January if virus unchecked
One of the Chippewa Valley’s largest health care providers is issuing a dire warning about the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic: Mayo Clinic Health System said Tuesday that all of the beds are full at all of its hospitals in northwest Wisconsin.
Furthermore, half of the hospitals’ intensive care unit capacity is occupied by patients with the coronavirus, while 40% of medical surgical beds are occupied by those with COVID-19, according to a statement attributed to several top officials, including Dr. Richard Helmers, regional vice president for Mayo Clinic Health System Northwest Wisconsin.
“The public urgently needs to treat COVID-19 as the health emergency it is to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed,” the statement said. “We are pleading for everyone’s help to wear a mask and follow all public health guidelines to limit the spread of this disease.”
The surge in COVID-19 cases in the region had already led Mayo Clinic Health System to temporarily defer elective care at its hospitals in northwest Wisconsin beginning Oct. 31.
“We are pleading for everyone’s help to wear a mask and follow all public health guidelines to limit the spread of this disease.”
The announcement came as the Wisconsin set single-day records in the number of positive cases, deaths, and new hospitalizations, according to the state Department of Health Services: 7,073 confirmed cases were reported since Monday, 66 people had died from the virus, and 291 more were hospitalized, bringing the total of those in the hospital to 13,230. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been nearly 279,000 COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin and 2,395 deaths.
In Eau Claire County, the number of positive cases rose 92 between Monday and Tuesday, reaching 5,223 overall. The county’s death toll grew by four to 35. Last Thursday, Nov. 5, Eau Claire County set a single-day record in new cases with 240.
Gov. Tony Evers planned to deliver a live, statewide address on the pandemic at 6:05pm Tuesday, which you can watch here.
In a preview of Evers’ remarks released by his office Tuesday afternoon, the governor said that the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates an additional 2,500 Wisconsinites could die by Jan. 1 “if no further actions are taken to get this virus under control.”
“The surges we see – the new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths – these are not foregone conclusions,” the governor’s statement read. “These are predictable and preventable. That means the fight against this virus is winnable, but only if we fight it together.”
For the latest on the state’s effort to combat the pandemic, visit the DHS COVID-19 website.
Here is the full text of Tuesday’s statement released by Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin:
Our COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving with admissions and discharges, but as of Tuesday afternoon, Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin had 83 COVID positive inpatients; that includes our hospitals in Barron, Bloomer, Eau Claire, Osseo and Menomonie. In addition, COVID-19 testing operations at Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin are generating greater than 1,000 positive tests per week and positivity rates have recently exceeded 30% per day.
The public urgently needs to treat COVID-19 as the health emergency it is to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. We are pleading for everyone’s help to wear a mask and follow all public health guidelines to limit the spread of this disease. 100% of our beds are full at all hospitals for Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin. This is a critically important message our community desperately needs to hear.
Approximately 50% of our intensive care capacity is occupied by COVID positive patients – our ICU is full. Approximately 40% of our medical surgical beds in Northwest Wisconsin are occupied by COVID positive patients – our medical surgical units are full. COVID inpatients routinely have hospital lengths of stay 2 to 3 times longer than non-COVID patients. We also have approximately 300 Mayo Clinic Health System staff in Northwest Wisconsin on work restrictions due to COVID-19 exposures.
While we are temporarily deferring elective procedures in order to free up beds for COVID-19 patients, the public needs to understand we continue to care for other patient populations in addition to COVID patients – we remain open for trauma, emergency care, and urgent care needs while also caring for COVID patients. We need your help and we need it now.