BEAVER DAM, Wis. - As counties across Wisconsin continue to break daily records for COVID-19 infection rates, hospital leaders in Beaver Dam said Sunday things are looking grim at small hospitals like theirs.
The numbers don’t lie. In the first seven months of the pandemic, Dodge County experienced nine deaths. As of Sunday morning, there had been 66, with health officials warning if trends continue, those numbers will go up sharply.
"Our predictive modeling shows this going to March of next year if we don’t change something," said Angelia Foster, Marshfield Medical Center, Beaver Dam. "So for us, it could be a long, dark winter in Dodge County.”
As the virus spreads across the state, health professionals are working to not buckle under the pressure.
“I would say we’re in a pretty tough spot," said Foster. "We’re over 7,200 positive cases. I remind myself that for the first seven months of COVID, we only had 1,500 positive cases in the county.”
Health officials say the holiday season brings a sense of dread.
“I’ve seen, on average, 65 to 75% of the people in the building are COVID positive when they are admitted," said Foster. "Our predictive modeling says that’s going to get up to 90% in the month of December.”
From their side of the hospital bed, the recent spike in cases comes down to a simple truth.
"What we need for the community to do is to heed the warnings," said Foster. "You should be listening to us. The challenge now is people don’t want to hear it.”
Failure to listen has serious consequences.
"In the first seven months, we only had nine deaths in the county, and as of this morning, we’re at 66," said Foster.
Hospital staff say that what you do for the rest of 2020 will determine how bad this virus will be, so to do your part in keeping infection rates down: practice social distancing, sanitize your hands and please wear a mask.