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One of the largest hospitals in Wisconsin is at capacity while Green Bay hospital brings in U.S. Navy

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 15:34:58-05

MADISON, Wis. — One of the largest hospitals in the state says it is overwhelmed with patients and is now at capacity.

“The official numbers are usually not 100% but I'd say our capacity is (at) 100%. Every day now for the last several weeks, we have had people who have called us to transfer patients that we've not been able to get in at the end of the day,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health.

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UW Health is the state’s third largest hospital and Dr. Pothof says every bed is filled. In Green Bay, Bellin Health is bringing in the US Navy this week to deal with the extremely high number of patients.

Dr. Jeff Pothof
Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health, says his hospital system is near capacity.

“Our emergency departments are experiencing higher volumes than they ever have before,” said Dr. Bradley Burmeister, Emergency Department Physician at Bellin Health.

Burmeister says right now about one in every five patients has COVID in his hospital. Bellin and UW Health are not alone. Nearly 58% of hospitals in the state categorize themselves as at capacity.

Even if hospitals are not totally full, most are nearly there.

Data from the state shows 93% of hospital beds are in use in Wisconsin and 96% of ICU beds are full.

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 Dr. Bradley Burmeister, emergency room physician at Bellin Health, says the U.S. Navy will be coming to the hospital to help with the high number of patients.

“We are operating well over what we're used to operating. People in the top to the bottom are working extra hours, dedicating a lot of extra time and putting a lot of effort to care for our communities,” said Burmeister.

UW Health says even though this is nearly two years into the pandemic, this is the worst it has ever been for the hospital.

“We really want to get that message out there that we need to decrease the rate of hospitalizations in this state or there's going to be people who need hospitalization who aren't going to get it,” said  Pothof.

Both UW and Bellin Health says besides COVID, they are also seeing high flu numbers and are urging people to get vaccinated for both COVID and the flu.

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