Wisconsin health officials will be opening up a field hospital this week at the state fairgrounds near Milwaukee to help treat the surge in COVID-19 patients in the state.
Last week, Governor Tony Evers said hospitalizations in the state have nearly tripled in the last month, and Wisconsin's State Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said that the field hospital will be open by Oct. 14.
“We hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different, more dire place today and our healthcare systems are beginning to become overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases,” Evers said in a statement. “This alternative care facility will take some of the pressure off our healthcare facilities while expanding the continuum of care for folks who have COVID-19.”
According to Evers, construction for the 530-bed facility was first announced back in April as the state began planning ahead for a possible surge in cases in the fall. The site will only be taking patients who are not critically ill with the virus and have already been hospitalized for 24 to 48 hours but still need professional care.
"The goal of this facility is to transition COVID-19 patients who are less ill out of hospitals and reserve hospital beds for patients who are more ill and in need of hospital-level care,” Evers’ office said.
Palm told reporters that in addition to a surge in COVID-19 cases, the state was also experiencing staffing shortages at its hospitals "largely due to staff members experiencing infection or exposure to the virus in their communities," according to CBS News.
The field hospital will be staffed by volunteers, state workers and National Guard members, and patients will not be allowed to have visitors.
Wisconsin isn't the only state to experience a rise in cases. According to a New York Times database, there has been an average of 50,492 cases per day nationwide, a 19 percent increase from the average number of cases two weeks earlier.
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 7,852,500 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 215,100 have died.
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