State health officials: Field hospital isn’t a regular hospital

The state’s first field hospital for COVID-19 patients will be opening Wednesday morning
Inside the Field Hospital for COVID-19 patients
Inside the Field Hospital for COVID-19 patients(WBAY Staff)
Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 8:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - State health officials will be opening a field hospital at Wisconsin’s State Fairgrounds to handle COVID-19 patients Wednesday morning.

The alternative care facility is meant to ease the strain on area hospitals that are now near, or at, capacity.

We’re now finding out what to expect after the facility’s doors open at 8 a.m.

RELATED: Wisconsin activates field hospital as COVID keeps surging

State officials say the facility isn’t a regular hospital, and will only accept patients in coordination with their current health care provider.

This video shows some of the first images of what the field hospital will look like, which could house up to 530 patients, if needed.

“The facility is prepared to accept up to 50 patients on its first day and we will scale that capacity as needed,” said Andrea Palm, the Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

RELATED: This pace is not sustainable: Dr. Rai on how COVID stresses our hospitals

The goal is to accept COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization, but might need a lower level of care, which will free up capacity at local hospitals to focus on the most severe COVID cases, as well as those without COVID, who come through the emergency room.

“We will throughout the day and we will continue to talk to them throughout the day and into the evening and tomorrow morning in anticipation of getting some greater clarity about who may need us,” said Palm.

HSHS hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin issued the following statement Tuesday regarding the capacity situation at their facilities:

“HSHS St. Vincent Hospital, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital are all at near capacity due to significant community spread of COVID-19 and we continue to monitor the situation at each hospital hour-by-hour. While the hospitals' emergency preparedness plans are activated, we are able to care for all patients and do not need to transport patients to the state field hospital at this time. HSHS is grateful to Governor Tony Evers for activating the field hospital should our health care system or any others across the state need it during this very challenging time for Wisconsin. As we dedicate our time and resources to caring for all who come through our doors – those suffering from COVID-19 or any other health concern in which our hospitals' services are needed – we are pleading with our communities to do their part in curbing the spread of this virus so that we do not exceed our capacity and can continue to care for all who need us, close to home. We ask all to please avoid large gatherings, wear a mask, physically distance yourselves from others, do not gather with people from outside of your household if possible and wash your hands frequently.”

The President and CEO of ThedaCare described a similar situation during an interview with Action 2 News just last week.

RELATED: ThedaCare nearing staffed-bed capacity for inpatients, COVID-19 patients

“Our seven day average of new daily cases is 2,727, which is up from 1,141 one month ago,” said Palm.

If needed, a second field hospital could be set up in Dane County.

Plans are in place if numbers continue to rise.

You can watch Tuesday’s full news conference with the DHS and Governor Evers below.

RELATED: Wisconsin health and business leaders plead with public to follow COVID guidelines

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.