With 8% of ICU beds open, Wisconsin officials warn of 'tipping point' where hospital care is not accessible

Wisconsin is experiencing a record number of hospitalizations due to a COVID-19 surge, leaving just 8 percent of intensive care unit beds open and putting the state's ability to treat all hospitalized patients at risk, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"This could get much worse quickly and that tipping point is when we stop being able to save everyone who gets severely ill," Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, CMO of the state's department of health services, said in a local news briefing. "A lot of people in the population don't perceive themselves to be at high risk of severe COVID-19, but we are truly all at risk if we have hospitals and health systems that aren't able to be there for us when we need them." 

The news comes after Mayo Clinic Health System reported they have no hospital beds left in northwest Wisconsin. ProHealth Care, which has hospitals in Waukesha and Oconomowoc, are at capacity and have had to reduce elective procedures, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The COVID-19 surge has also thrown a wrench in the state's contact tracing efforts, with public health officials saying they're unable to contact everyone who tests positive within 24 hours. 

"Inconsistent messaging from leaders" has contributed to the worsening situation, officials from the state's healthcare system said. The measures Gov. Tony Evers has tried to implement, such as a stay-at-home order in May, have been challenged by Republican lawmakers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. 

Wisconsin reported a record 7,073 new COVID-19 cases Nov. 10.

More articles on public health:
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, state by state: Nov. 12
'We are about to enter COVID hell': Experts warn of most dangerous surge yet
18 states where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, slowest: Nov. 12


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