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"Nobody's listening to us now": Health workers urge safe practices as Covid-19 hospitalizations continue to rise

Posted at 11:08 PM, Nov 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 00:08:08-05

MILWAUKEE — Close to 2,100 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 throughout Wisconsin, according to state health data released Sunday.

Data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website shows more than 90 percent of the state's ICU beds are in use. In Milwaukee County, data shows 78 percent of the county's ICU beds are full.

Health workers across the state are feeling the impact.

At Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam, Chief Administrative Officer Angelia Foster says Covid-19 patients make up about 80 percent of the people they are taking care of, compared to just 7 percent during the first few months of the pandemic.

"We’re doing 68 percent more work with 20 to 25 percent less staff, and it is a challenge," Foster said.

Data shows cases more than doubled to 6,662 cases since Oct. 15 in Dodge County.

Foster says her staff is exhausted, and she says they express frustration when they leave their shift to find people refusing to social distance.

"I stop on the way home just to grab a gallon of milk, and I walk into the at the gas station and nobody in there has a mask on," Foster said. "And they look at me and say, 'Thanks for all you're doing,' not realizing they're putting me at risk."

In addition to hospitals, staff at clinics are also working extra hard, especially as flu season approaches.

"I worked past flu seasons when I worked in-patient where we would be boarding people in the ER because we didn't have beds. That was without Covid," said Laura Johnson, a . So now in the brave new world of Covid, we don't really know what's going to happen.

County officials in Kenosha sent out a message this weekend imploring the community to practice Covid-19 safety guidelines after officials say the county saw more than 700 new cases last week.

Health workers say people need to social distance and wear a mask now more than ever.

"What they’ve said is in the spring we were called health care heroes—nobody's listening to us now," Foster said. " And they need to listen to us now more than they did in the spring."

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