UW Health: COVID-19 variant could 'overwhelm' already full hospitals

emergency hospital sign
Posted at 10:04 AM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-28 11:04:08-05

MADISON, Wis. — UW Health is warning the latest surge in COVID-19 cases could overwhelm its already "very full" facilities.

UW Health said in a statement Tuesday that if cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, they may not have enough space and staff required to care for patients.

The health system said they are trying to reduce patient volumes, including reducing non-essential procedures and converting spaces to accommodate more COVID-19 patients. They said they are not concerned about supplies; but they only have so many staff trained in critical care.

The system continued the best defense remains the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, as well as the COVID booster.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services' COVID database, 93 percent of hospital beds in the state are in use, and 96.5 percent of ICU beds are being used.

Hospitalizations have skyrocketed in recent months, with more recorded this month since December of last year.

Chief quality officer at UW Health, Dr. Jeff Pothof, said in the statement:

“Our staff have been incredible, and they continue to provide the best care even in these difficult circumstances, but ultimately we are struggling to accommodate the volume of patients we’re seeing, and that volume is increasing."

“When hospitals are as full as ours is right now, access to doctors and a bed when you have a heart attack, a stroke or a car accident are a major concern. We’re dangerously close to the point where there just aren’t resources for all of those cases. You think it can’t happen to you, but it can if we continue to stay on this trajectory.”

“Do it for yourself, your family, your friends, and for the nurses and doctors who are watching hospital beds fill up and don’t want to have to find one for you."