Temporary COVID-19 care facility opens at Wisconsin State Fair Park

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Hospitals across the state are struggling to manage the surge of positive COVID-19 cases. The Wisconsin State Fair Park Alternate Care facility opened Wednesday, Oct. 14 to help alleviate the stress on hospitals.

So far, no patients have been transferred to the State Fair Park facility, but officials say they might be receiving their first patients as soon as Thursday, as they’ve been fielding calls all day from hospitals inquiring about that process.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk says Wisconsin is in crisis.

“Right now we have thousands of other people exposing other people,” said Van Dijk.

Hospitals are feeling the pressure.

Fifty-seven of Wisconsin’s 72 counties meet the threshold for high disease activity.

“We’ve been fielding calls all morning, all afternoon from area hospitals and health systems inquiring as to first the patients they’re interested in transferring to us eligible for admission,” said Deb Standridge, CEO of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Alternate Care Facility.

Patients transferred to State Fair Park must have been hospitalized for at least 48 hours, not in ICU or transitioning into step down rooms, have a temperature of 100 degrees or less, have vital signs in the normal range, and able to move around alone, or with assistance.

Patients will be safely transferred by ambulance after they’re approved by the chief medical officer and chief nursing officer.

Officials hope this information will encourage people to be responsible.

“Order or no order, i strongly encourage people in the state to avoid any type of mass gathering, wear your mask, stay 6 feet apart, and stay home if you are ill.”

Officials say they are looking at other areas as possible sites for new alternate care facilities if the pandemic continues as bad as it has been recently.

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