By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
While virtually all hospital companies and clinics in Wisconsin continue their halt most treatments and procedures for non-COVID patients, data out today shows that the actual number of hospitalized COVID patients in the state continues to plummet.
Figures from the State Department of Health Services released today show 373 patients with COVID in all of the hospitals in the state combined. That’s down 33 from 406 yesterday. Wisconsin hospitals have just under 13,000 total beds. Many procedures, treatments and appointments for people who have conditions other than COVID have been called off because of fears the virus would overwhelm the healthcare system. Instead, it’s barely made a dent.
The Medical College of Wisconsin is the latest to tell employees of coming layoffs and furloughs. MCW has most non-COVID appointments on hold, causing a loss of revenue and no need for many workers. In the meantime, the actual in-patient COVID caseloads continue to drop.
Advocate Aurora, the state’s largest hospital company, has seen a similar drop in its COVID patient load. All of the Aurora hospitals in the state have a combined COVID in-patient count of 96. That’s down 25 percent since I first reported on Aurora’s numbers last week. Aurora has hospitals all over the state of Wisconsin and many have zero COVID patients. Yet Aurora has canceled procedures everywhere. In fact, Aurora’s stats indicate the entire health care system and its physicians are treating only 668 current cases either in or out of the hospital.
The numbers not only indicate the Wisconsin hospital census for COVID patients is declining but that such patients now are using only a very small minority of the rooms in hospitals. There seems to be no justification for halting all other procedures.
Sources indicate that among the procedures being put on hold in some physician practices are child vaccinations. This could lead to outbreaks of communicable diseases among kids. A myriad of other procedures including joint replacements, colonoscopies, mental health treatment, heart tests and other procedures have been put on hold. Virtually no physical exams or lab tests are being done. Mammograms and prostate screenings are on hold. All of these decisions were made in anticipation of a COVID spike that did not materialize.
Now that it is clear there will be no spike, it seems insane that non-COVID procedures remain off limits