Wisconsin activates field hospital at state fairgrounds as COVID keeps surging

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s governor has announced the opening of a field hospital at the state fairgrounds as a surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

According to the state Department of Health Services, only 16% of the state’s 11,452 hospital beds are available as of Tuesday afternoon.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has grown to 853, with 216 of them in intensive care. Results of COVID-19 tests on an additional 262 in-patients are pending.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a 530-bed field hospital on the state fairgrounds in West Allis in April but hospitalizations hadn’t increased so much that it needed to open until now.

“We hoped this day wouldn’t come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different, more dire place today and our healthcare systems are beginning to become overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases,” said Gov. Evers. “This alternative care facility will take some of the pressure off our healthcare facilities while expanding the continuum of care for folks who have COVID-19.”

COVID-19 patients will begin being accepted within the next week.