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COVID-19 emergency field hospital opens in Milwaukee area

Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 9:52 PM CDT
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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s a facility health officials hoped would never have to be utilized, but a field hospital in Milwaukee opened up on Wednesday, Oct. 14 in an effort to lessen the load on hospitals across the state.

The facilities manager said on a call on Wednesday, while she’s impressed with the hard work it took to get the building ready, she hoped that she’d never actually had to open it.

“The average length of stay for the patient to be is anywhere from three to six days, that is what we anticipate. They’re between the ages of 18 and 70-years-old. They may need some additional oxygen therapy, [and] additional medications,” CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Alternate Care Facility Deb Standridge said.

As Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Wisconsin, and the doors at the COVID-19 alternate care facility in Milwaukee open, health professionals said this was a necessary step.

“This is really the five-alarm fire in our communities to say it’s time for us to come together and band together,” Thedacare President and CEO Dr. Imran Andrabi said.

“We’ve now seen a near tripling in COVID hospitalizations in Milwaukee County in about as many weeks,” Milwaukee County Emergency Management Medical Director Dr. Ben Weston said.

With 50 doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and respiratory specialists ready to get to work, the number of patients at the facility will fluctuate.

“I will tell you today of a hospital that talked to us last week that was becoming overwhelmed and had limited needs. When we spoke to them again four days later, many of them had been discharged,” Standridge said.

Patients with a temperature of more than 100 degrees will not be using the facility. However, officials warn staying safe is key whether there is a mask mandate or not in the state.

“Order or no order, I strongly encourage people in the state to avoid any type of mass gathering, wear your mask, stay 6 feet apart, and stay home if you are ill,” Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said.

They’re able to care for anyone between the ages of 18 and 70 that are close to a full recovery and NewsChannel 7 will be sure to follow the intake in Milwaukee and keep you updated as the numbers change.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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