'This is just the beginning': How a top WI doctor wants us to work together to stop the spread

Posted at 10:15 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-14 21:26:57-04

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin is just starting to see the coronavirus pandemic, according to the board chair Dr. John Raymond of the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. That is a consortium of six health care facilities in Milwaukee, including the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedert, and Children's Hospitals.

"Milwaukee has two cases which is new. We had none yesterday. The coronavirus pandemic appears to be in an exponential growth phase, which is predictable. We had eight patients in Wisconsin yesterday, and we have close to 20 now. So that should tell us we are in a phase where we have a rapid doubling of the patients," said Dr. John Raymond.

Dr. Raymond said the area hospitals are working on getting as many resources as possible for patients because if there is a spike in patients they would be overwhelmed.

"If only a small percent of Wisconsinites are infected with COVID-19, let's say 5-percent. We have 6 million people in Wisconsin that will be 300,000 that are infected. If 20-percent need hospitalization, which is about what we know from China and Italy, that is still going to vastly exceed the capacity of our hospital beds," said Raymond. "We have 4 or 5 thousand open hospital beds and 30,000 or 70,000 patients at once. We need those beds. We aren't going to be able to adequately deal with that. And that is what you are seeing play out in Italy."

Dr. John Raymond on 'flattening the curve'

That is why Dr. Raymond said we have to work together. He points out all area hospitals in the region are working together to make sure people get treatment.

"The hospitals on campus both of Children's and Froedert have a heightened awareness and readiness plan," said Dr. Raymond.
"These hopsitals on campus and all the hospitals in the region are working very hard to make sure our supply chain is intact."

He said they want to offer the best care to people who are dealing with COVID-19. That is why they are taking proactive measures across the health systems everywhere from the your doctor's office to hospital rooms to make sure every point of contact gets someone the right help.

But Dr. Raymond said the best thing we can do to stay well is wash our hands and try to keep a good distance between each other if we have to go out in public.

"All of the work we are doing now is to flatten the curve. We don't need a surge of very ill patients overwhelming the healthcare system. What we are asking individuals to do and institutions to do is to minimize the rapid spread of the disease through social distancing. So you and I are 6 feet apart. We shouldn't be shaking hands," said Dr. Raymond.

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.