Hospitals ask people to get vaccinated as hospitalizations rise, resources stretch thin

Emergency room generic
File photo

MADISON, Wis. — A group of southern Wisconsin hospitals is pleading with people to get the COVID vaccine as hospitalizations continue to rise in the region and rural hospitals see their resources stretched thin.

The South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition released a statement Friday morning saying hospitals and other health care facilities throughout the 14 counties of southcentral Wisconsin are experiencing a high number of inpatients, limiting hospital bed availability for all conditions, not just COVID-19.

The spike in patients covers both those being hospitalized for COVID-19 and other ailments, but the coalition says it is the preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations that are putting the most strain on the system.

“This present high volume of patients spans across critical care areas of the hospitals, like intensive care units (ICU), general medical floors, and emergency departments,” the Coalition said in a statement Friday. “With resources stretched, it is becoming more difficult to receive care close to home if you may need it for COVID and non-COVID-related illnesses.”

Because of that, they are urging anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to get the COVID vaccine. While breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are still possible among vaccinated people, the symptoms are much milder and COVID hospitalizations are extremely rare for the vaccinated.

RELATED: ‘Burnout’: As COVID-19 hospitalizations rise, concerns of staff handling another surge mount

The Coalition says the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has increased four-fold from July 28 to September 1, and intensive care hospitalizations increased by 5.5 times the previous levels. Those ICU hospitalizations are putting the biggest strain on the healthcare system, the Coalition says, because many rural hospitals do not have ICU capabilities — meaning those people are being placed in hospitals further away from home and their families, and are fighting for ICU spots in bigger locations like Madison.

“To better control the situation, the hospitals are urging everyone to continue being vigilant with COVID-19 safety measures, such as receiving any COVID-19 vaccine, masking, and physically distancing where appropriate,” the Coalition said in its statement.