Last updated on November 17th, 2020 at 01:56 pm
Children’s Wisconsin is preparing to accept adult patients this week as the spike in COVID-19 cases strains area hospitals’ capacity.
Children’s confirmed that it is prepared to admit adult patients, who are up to the age of 27 and who are negative for both COVID-19 and influenza, at its Wauwatosa hospital in the coming days.
“This step is an addition to Children’s accepting transfers of pediatric patients from other health systems as well. By sending kids to us, hospitals are creating additional bed and staff capacity,” Children’s Wisconsin said in an emailed statement.
The pediatric health system created in April a memorandum of agreement with other health systems to accept transfers of both pediatric patients and adult patients at its hospital, in case of a COVID surge.
Children’s said the adult patients will be placed in the hospital based on their diagnosis. The system’s flagship hospital has 306 beds, according to its website.
“We had hoped these plans would not have been necessary, but the rising cases and hospitalizations make it necessary. We encourage everyone to continue to follow social distancing recommendation by wearing their masks, washing their hands and avoiding group gatherings,” Children’s said.
As of Sunday, there are 899 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in southeastern Wisconsin, 209 of whom are in the ICU, according to Wisconsin Hospital Association data.
The region now has more than six times as many hospitalized COVID patients as it did in mid-September. On Sept. 15, there were 141 COVID patients hospitalized in southeastern Wisconsin.
In the region, there are 59 immediately available ICU beds as of Sunday, of the 656 total beds. There are 29 open “intermediate care” hospital beds, of 278 total; and 178 negative pressure, or isolation, rooms available, of 491 total in the region.
The region’s alternate care facility – an overflow facility at State Fair Park for COVID-19 patients who are not severely ill but still require continued medical support after hospitalization – has 18 patients, as of Sunday. Public health officials said the facility, which was constructed in April but not activated until October, was an “insurance policy” that they hoped would never get used.
The previous peak for COVID-19 hospitalizations in the region throughout the spring and summer months was on April 14, when there were 350 inpatients, according to WHA data.