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Wisconsin public health managers to call on FEMA for coronavirus hospital help

Wisconsin is turning to the federal government to find enough nurses to deal with the latest surge of coronavirus patients across the state.

Wisconsin’s Health Services Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake on Wednesday said the state’s coronavirus hospitalization numbers surged over the past week.

“There are 1,630 Wisconsites hospitalized with COVID-19,” Timberlake said. “That is an increase of 212 patients in just one week. [In addition], 418 patients are in the intensive care unit.”

Timberlake said the spike in hospitalizations is stressing hospitals throughout the state. To help, Timberlake and the state are turning to the federal government.

“We are working with Wisconsin’s Department of Military Affairs and Wisconsin Emergency Management, along with Wisconsin’s hospitals to request medical reserve teams from FEMA,” Timberlake said. “These teams will be dispersed around the state and will add important capacity, especially in intensive care units.”

Timberlake said the state is asking for five FEMA teams, or 100 people.

The request comes about a week after Gov. Tony Evers ordered the Wisconsin National Guard to send state troops to state-owned long term care and mental health facilities. About 60 troops are working as nursing assistants there.

“The bottom line is that we will continue to make every effort to make sure that our hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living providers have what they need to care for all of us,” Timberlake said.

Evers said the best way to ease Wisconsin’s hospital crunch is to get vaccinated.

So far, DHS says just over 59% of people in the state have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. A little more than 56% of people have gotten both shots.

DHS says nearly one third of people who’ve gotten both shots have also gotten a booster. That’s over 1 million people and counting.

This article was originally posted on Wisconsin public health managers to call on FEMA for coronavirus hospital help

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