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'Our hospitals, without a doubt, are frankly underwater right now': Health experts sound the alarm as COVID cases spike

Wisconsin is currently ranked 4th in the country for the highest daily cases per 100,000, recording 74 new on average
Posted at 8:03 AM, Dec 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 07:16:41-05

MILWAUKEE — As we gear up for the peak of the holiday season, the Omicron variant is spreading fast in Wisconsin and throughout the country.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Wisconsin is currently ranked 4th in the country for the highest daily cases per 100,000, recording 74 new on average.

Experts are sounding the alarm.

"Well, I would say I'm quite concerned I mean our hospitals, without a doubt, are frankly underwater right now," said Dr. Ben Weston, Milwaukee County Chief Health Advisor.

This graph shows hospitalizations in Southeast Wisconsin reaching an all-time high for this year.

Source: Wisconsin Hospital Association

"97% of our ICUs in the state are occupied. One in three of those ICU beds is occupied by a covid patient," said Dr. Weston.

Crowded hospitals create more risks for patients that do not have Covid related issues.

Health experts believe the rise is related to the Omicron variant and getting the shot is still the best defense against severe infection.

"People who have not yet received their boosters are still vulnerable to it. They're certainly not nearly as vulnerable as people who have not gotten vaccinated. The most important thing is taking that first step and getting vaccinated but the booster is also really critical, especially for Omicron giving that added protection."

Some taking that next step to getting boosted ahead of the holidays.

"For me, I'm vaccinated and I'm going to get boosted and for the most part, I feel like I am safe around my family and I try to be as safe as possible in social situations," said Addison Dahmer, a local in Milwaukee.

However, others are not as concerned.

"I think it's more of another hype up of something, just to keep the masses controlled," said local, Landon Huemphnr.

Alongside getting a vaccine or booster shot, Dr. Weston is encouraging all to continue to wear a mask and take a rapid test if you plan on gathering this holiday season.

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