UW Health's open letter to residents: 'We are, quite simply, out of time' 

Thousands of employees from UW Health, the academic health system for the University of Wisconsin in Madison, issued an open letter to state residents Nov. 22 pleading for cooperation with COVID-19 safety measures. 

"Wisconsin is in a bad place right now with no sign of things getting better without action. We are, quite simply, out of time," the letter reads. "Without immediate change, our hospitals will be too full to treat all of those with the virus and those with other illnesses or injuries. Soon you or someone you love may need us, but we won't be able to provide the life-saving care you need, whether for COVID-19, cancer, heart disease or other urgent conditions. As health care providers, we are terrified of that becoming reality."

UW Health calls for people to avoid gatherings not just with strangers, but extended family members; wear a mask; and wash hands often. 

"You've heard these recommendations a thousand times, but if the thousand and first time makes an impact it's all worth it. If you stop the spread to one person, it's worth it," the letter says. 

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a new public health emergency Nov. 20 due to the capacity and staffing limitations for the state's hospitals. More than a third of Wisconsin hospitals were operating at peak capacity and unable to admit new patients as of Nov. 20, and over a third of hospitals in the state reported critical staffing shortages. The governor also extended the statewide mask requirement the same day.

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