Wisconsin hospitals 'on the brink' as field hospital opens: 6 notes

Wisconsin opened an alternative care facility for COVID-19 patients Oct. 14 as COVID-19 hospitalizations tripled statewide over the last month, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

The field hospital opened Oct. 14 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in Milwaukee. The alternate care facility will be used to separate and treat COVID-19 patients from other hospitalized patients, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said in an interview with NPR

"We're going into cold and flu season," Mr. Barnes said. "To have that on top of ... a spike in COVID-19 outbreaks is something that should be concerning to everybody. Hospitals are on the brink."

Six things to know about the field hospital: 

1. The center will treat less sick COVID-19 patients still requiring hospital care, Deb Standridge, chief executive of the facility, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Patients must be 18-70 years and have been hospitalized for at least 48 hours before being transported to the facility. Patients also must have close-to-normal vital signs, body temperatures under 100 degrees and be able to walk on their own or with the assistance of one other.

2. Patients may require oxygen therapy, additional rest or medication. 

3. Walk-up patients are not admitted. 

4. Healthcare workers from across the state and nation are working at the center.

5. The facility has 50 beds, but that number can be doubled quickly, Ms. Standridge said. The state has said the center could hold up to 530 beds.

6. The cost of transferring patients to the hospital will be paid for by the state with money from the CARES Act. The state will not bill health plans or patients for the care.

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