Field hospital to open Wednesday; Evers wants to talk with GOP leaders

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 5:50 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Tomorrow, the state will open up a field hospital for COVID-19 victims at the State Fairgrounds in Milwaukee.

Many hospitals are dealing with a strain in capacity because of the surge in cases. The field hospital is prepared to for an initial intake of 50 patients with the ability to scale up as high as 530.

During today’s Department of Health Services update, they pointed to the Fox Valley, northeast and northcentral Wisconsin as the parts of the state with the highest capacity issues.

They’ll only be accepting COVID patients on the low-end of the spectrum.

“The goal is to take pressure off local hospitals to treat the more severely ill COVID patients, as well as their non-COVID patient load," said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. "So we will take lower acuity COVID patients who need a lower level of care, who are closer to being ready to discharge.”

The state will transport those patients to the facility in Milwaukee.

The question was asked, what if the surge grows even greater than the 530-bed capacity at state park? There is a drawing for an additional site in Madison if needed. But that has not been given the go-ahead for construction at this moment.

Meanwhile, it’s been 181 days, April 15, since the state legislature last met in session.

Governor Tony Evers sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Majority Leader Senator Scott Fitzgerald yesterday looking for some answers, and he says he still hasn’t heard back.

In today’s DHS call, Governor Evers was asked why things are so bad in Wisconsin right now regarding COVID-19. The governor says the Supreme Court striking down his stay-at-home order has caught up with the state. When that happened, the Republican Legislature said they had some ideas.

With today’s COVID numbers, which include 3,200 new cases and a record 34 new deaths, the governor is asking how much more will it take.

In that letter yesterday, Evers says he wants a productive meeting with Vos and Fitzgerald on the state’s response.

“I’m hoping that the severity of what’s going on in the state of Wisconsin now will bring people to the table. We know what the Republicans are against. I’m hopeful they have some ideas. It’s time," Evers said.

Evers says Wisconsinites need to know where the legislature stands on the public health emergency, and if the state will be “thrown into chaos" in an effort of keeping people safe.

I reached out to both Speaker Vos and Senator Fitzgerald, and their representatives, for comment on what the governor is asking. We have not received a response.

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