Aspirus continues to treat patients with delta variant, as omicron moves in

Steve Phillipson, MD, Aspirus Regional Director for Hospital Medicine Services
Steve Phillipson, MD, Aspirus Regional Director for Hospital Medicine Services(Aspirus Health)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 3:13 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services continues to see an increase statewide for covid case positivity. Locally, leaders at Aspirus Health are also seeing case positive surge.

Aspirus processed a system-high of 7,660 COVID-19 tests with a record-high 34% positivity rate from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.

“I would say right now, in part due to COVID hospitalizations and part due to other factors, we’re in a dire state. Not just at Aspirus, but throughout the upper Midwest,” said Steve Phillipson, MD, Aspirus Regional Director for Hospital Medicine Services.

Researchers continue to gather new information every day on the omicron COVID-19 variant. To date, there seem to be two trends in the data: omicron is more contagious and its symptoms are less severe. That surge is coming fast, according to data from the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Omicron is now the most dominant variant in the state and is more severe than influenza.

Dr. Phillipson and hospital staff have been on the frontlines saving lives since the pandemic started. His team is still dealing with the surge caused by the delta variant. Now, they’re beginning to experience an additional surge from the omicron variant.

“On the ICUs we’re seeing people with respiratory failure who are on ventilators for weeks and weeks at a time, developing organ failure and needing things like dialysis, people having strokes and blood clots to the lungs. All manner of things that COVID can cause,” Dr. Phillipson said.

As of Tuesday, 80% of COVID-19 inpatients throughout the Aspirus system were not fully vaccinated.

“We’re in this situation where we don’t have enough people to take care of people and we don’t have enough beds to take care of them,” Dr. Phillipson said. “So, let’s say that you got your vaccine, and your aunt, uncle or grandparent got their vaccine and they got sick with some other problem, we might not have a bed to take care of them.”

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