Federal support is being requested for Wisconsin hospitals inundated with COVID-19 patients. With barely over 56 percent of the state fully vaccinated for COVID-19, hospitals are critically short of beds, and are also contending with staffing shortages.
Health Services Secretary designee Karen Timberlake says they’re requesting support teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“At the moment we’re looking at regional FEMA teams, as many as five,” Timberlake said during a Wednesday conference call to update the status of COVID-19 in the state. She said that could put up to 100 additional people into Wisconsin hospitals. “The real strategy here is to use those staff strategically to free up capacity in our ICUs.”
The Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported 3,519 new COVID-19 cases, a seven-day average of 3,155 new cases, and an additional 33 deaths due to the virus. With 1,630 COVID patients hospitalized statewide, 97 percent of ICU beds and 98 percent of intermediate care beds are in use, with most patients being unvaccinated.
Timberlake said other states are also requesting assistance from FEMA. “Obviously FEMA resources have some limits to them as well. So what we need to do is ask for what we think is in the best interest of our state, and then work obviously with federal partners to make sure that we can get what we need across our state.”