Wisconsin further limits public gatherings, Gov. Evers announces new Alternate Care Facility.

  • Post Author
    by News director
  • Post Date
    Wed Oct 07 2020
The 7 day moving average of COVID-19 hospitalizations is now over 500 patients and it continues to rise. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Author: Jessica Gregory

Wisconsin Department of Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm announced Emergency Order #3 Tuesday, limiting business occupancy to 25% capacity. Restaurants, bars, stores, movie theaters and more are required to adhere to the new order while outdoor events and business operations that are not open to the public are unaffected. 

Other groups exempt from the order are child care services, 4K-12 schools, healthcare facilities, and government operations.

Beginning Oct. 8 at 8:00 a.m, the order will last for two COVID-19 incubation cycles and end on Nov. 6, 2020.

According to the Emergency Order, Wisconsin placed third in the ranking for the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in seven days, only behind California and Texas. Hospital bed and ICU bed occupancy in Wisconsin is over 80%, displays the Wisconsin DHS website data. 

Guided by state health officials, Gov. Tony Evers and DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm cite large gatherings as a major spreading ground for COVID-19.

“We are continuing to experience a surge in cases and many of our hospitals are overwhelmed, and I believe limiting indoor public gatherings will help slow the spread of this virus. Folks, we need your help and we need all Wisconsinites to work together during this difficult time. The sooner we get control of this virus, the sooner our economy, communities, and state can bounce back,” Evers said.

Hospitalizations are especially affecting the Northwest and Northeast regions of Wisconsin. To assist healthcare professionals, Gov. Evers announced Wednesday in a press release that an Alternate Care Facility will be stationed on the Wisconsin State Fair Park grounds in Milwaukee.

The goal of the Alternate Care Facility (ACF) is to house COVID-19 patients that only need a little remaining care, creating openings for very ill COVID-19 patients within hospitals. Walk-ins to the ACF are not allowed. Transitioning patients from hospitals over to the ACF will begin next week.

In the press release, Andrea Palm warns of the dangers ahead that Wisconsin will face if continued down this path.

“As COVID-19 cases rise, hospitals across the state are experiencing critical staffing shortages – largely due to staff members experiencing infection or exposure to the virus in their communities,” Palm said. “This is why we need every Wisconsinite to follow our recommendations and take this seriously. When hospitals are at capacity, it doesn't matter if you need care because of COVID-19 or a heart attack. We have to disrupt transmission so Wisconsinites can get the care they need.”

Hospitals in Appleton, Greenbay and Neenah have especially struggled to manage the new influx of ill COVID-19 patients. Leaders of hospitals in this region support the opening of the ACF.