COVID-19 preparations are underway at area hospitals, but needed supplies are hard to come by. Now, one Wisconsin hospital system is asking the community for donations.
Some hospital administrators told healthcare providers that they may need to make masks if the current supply runs out, according to a story by the Journal Sentinel.
At the state level, Evers asked the federal government for help to acquire more facemasks, gloves, gowns and other protective items for Wisconsin hospitals.
“We are committed to making sure these critical supplies are getting to hospitals and clinics as quickly as possible,” Evers said. “Demand is high though, and what we have received so far from the federal government falls far short of what is needed in the state to protect those who may come into direct contact with the virus.”
SEOC officials told DHS that supplies would be coming soon, but it would include a small number of items that are “past their manufacturer designated shelf-life” and should not be used in surgical settings.
“I’m calling on the federal government to take whatever actions are within its power to make sure these supplies are being directed to where they are needed most,” Evers said.
If a spike happens, beds may be in short supply, officials say
Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a teleconference on Thursday that risk can be viewed in two ways: getting sick and getting “very sick or dying from illness with the virus.”
The virus spreads easily. But people don’t have an immunity against the virus because it’s new. With that said, most people will experience mild symptoms but some will have severe symptoms. Without social distancing, however, the number of people getting sick could spike.
“Based on this, it’s fair to say that as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States will at some point in time either this year or next, be exposed to this virus,” Messonnier said. “And there’s a good chance many will become sick. But again, based on what we know about this virus, we do not expect most people to develop serious illness,”
Officials with the Center for Disease Control say that states, where community spread is happening, are in the “acceleration phase.”
In Wisconsin, 4,628 people have been tested for the presence of the virus. Of that group, 281 people have the disease. Four people have died. In Racine County, four people were diagnosed with it.
Most people who get the virus, likely won’t need to be hospitalized. However, if a large number of people get sick all at once and need hospitalization, that could put a strain on the health system.
READ MORE: 5 Things you need to Know about COVID-19
About 20 to 60 percent of the population is expected to get the virus, according to the Center for Disease Control.
For Wisconsin, that means up to 2.7 million people could be infected with the virus. Of those cases, over 560,000 people could need hospital care and 120,000 people could need intensive care.
The current number of available hospital beds in Wisconsin is 4,850. But there are 8,260 potentially available hospital beds. The number of available ICU beds could also result in a shortage. The hospitals in Wisconsin have 676 available ICU beds and 1,091 potentially available beds, according to the Harvard Institute of Global Health.
In most scenarios, “vast communities in America are not prepared to take care of the COVID-19 patients showing up,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, who led a team of researchers that developed the analysis.
Racine County prepares for COVID-19
Officials with Racine County are working with law enforcement agencies to procure as much personal protection equipment as possible to make sure first responders and health care workers are protected.
“It’s no secret there’s been a shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) throughout the country. Racine County first responders are equipped to protect themselves and the public — but we recognize the need for PPE will continue to increase as the coronavirus spreads,” according to a press release by Racine County.
Lt. John Magnus, of the Racine Fire Department, said the department has enough supplies, for now.
“However, depending on call volume and the nature of the call volume there is a chance we may need some items in the future. We would like to have patients follow the protocol from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if they believe they have been exposed to Covid-19.
READ MORE: What to do if you are sick
Meanwhile, officials with Ascension Wisconsin are asking individuals and companies for donations of PPE. Ascension Wisconsin is a hospital system that operates 24 hospital campuses and 100 healthcare facilities.
Supplies being requested for donation:
- Isolation Gowns
- Earloop or Tie Masks
- N95 Respirators
- Hand Sanitizers
- Face Shields
- Surface disinfectants
- Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR)
- Controlled Air Purifying Respirators (CAPR)
- Other approved PPE supplies advised by the CDC
To donate, people can contact the Ascension Wisconsin’s Foundation at AscensionWIFoundations@ascension.org.
Racine County Eye reached out to officials from Aurora Healthcare for this story. We will update this story when we receive a response.
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