WEST ALLIS — The COVID-19 Alternate Care Facility is now open at State Fair Park and ready to accept patients. No patients have been transferred to the facility yet, but the Wisconsin Department of Health Service believes that could change on Thursday.
“Today, there are no patients in the facility. But the reality is we are in crisis here in Wisconsin so we are ready to accept patients as the need arises,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
New video released by the state shows what the inside of the Alternate Care Facility looks like. Beds sit on concrete floors inside the Exposition Center at State Fair Park.
“The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is at an all-time high. Not only that, that number is growing. Many of our ICUs are strained,” said Willems Van Dijk.
On Wednesday there were 3,107 new cases of COVID-19. Despite that, no hospitals were ready to send down patients to the alternate care facility yet. The head of the ACF Debra Standridge says it will be a patient's choice if they come here.
“We have been fielding calls all morning, all afternoon from area hospitals and health systems in first all the patients they are interested in transferring to us eligible for admission,” said Standridge.
Patients need to be between the ages of 18 and 70 and cannot be critically ill. The patients most likely to come here are those who only need to be in the hospital a few more days with oxygen care.
“This is not just about if you need hospitalization for COVID. This about crowding out our hospitals for every other type of care that anyone of us could need at any day,” said Willems Van Dijk.
Patients will be brought to the ACF in ambulances and returned to their original hospitals the same way. They will not be charged for that service or their stay at the Alternate Care Facility. That will all be paid for through the CARES Act.
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