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Madison hospitals may limit elective surgeries, procedures amid record COVID-19 hospitalizations
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Madison hospitals may limit elective surgeries, procedures amid record COVID-19 hospitalizations

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Hospital elective procedures limits possible

Madison's three hospitals said Friday that they are preparing for "limited" postponements of elective surgeries and procedures to help manage record high COVID-19 hospitalizations. These medical personnel are working at University Hospital in Madison.

Madison's three hospitals said Friday that they are preparing for "limited" postponements of elective surgeries and procedures to help manage record high COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Urgent procedures like c-sections, appendectomies, bone fracture repair and other emergency surgeries will continue, UnityPoint Health-Meriter, SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, and UW Health said in a joint announcement.

Anyone experiencing a medical emergency, should call 911 or go to an emergency department, the hospitals stressed, adding that they have taken precautions to keep patients and staff safe.

The hospitals said they are assessing schedules for non-emergency and non-urgent procedures and surgeries, with the possibility of “limited” postponements.

Details may vary by location and health system, and staff will contact patients whose procedures will be rescheduled.

The move allows more clinical staff, hospital beds and other resources to be available for the growing number of COVID-19 patients and other urgent medical needs.

Dane County had a record 60 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 Wednesday, up from 54 Tuesday and the county’s previous peak of 46 in early April.

The hospitals said it is a “rapidly evolving situation,” and schedules will be assessed on an ongoing basis.

The hospitals said they have been preparing for the possibility of a surge in COVID-19 cases for six months and have protocols in place that ensure any changes should be limited in scope.

“While we’re confident in our ability to care for an increasing number of patients, we continue to ask our community to support us by wearing a mask, physically distancing and washing their hands,” the hospitals said.

Wisconsin on Thursday reported a record 3,132 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, surpassing 3,000 daily cases for the first time amid a weeks-long surge in cases and hospitalizations.

The state also had a record 907 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, with a record 228 of them in intensive care.

The situation led Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday to announce plans to open an overflow facility for COVID-19 patients next week at State Fair Park in West Allis, to help treat a continuing surge of patients requiring medical care.

Andrea Palm, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, said the state is “in crisis,” and the facility “will free up beds in our hospitals to better care for more severely ill COVID and non-COVID patients.”

Wisconsin first exceeded 1,000 daily cases on July 21 and 2,000 daily cases Sept. 17. The number of tests conducted daily has been slightly higher in recent days, but the percentages of positive tests and people tested generally have gone up the past month, indicating that the high case levels aren’t only the result of more testing.

The state on Thursday reported nine more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state total to 1,424 among more than 212,000 deaths nationwide.


COVID-19 in photos: How Wisconsin is managing the pandemic

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