Federal team assists Beaver Dam hospital's COVID-19 response

A federal disaster medical assistance team is assisting a Beaver Dam hospital in the fight against COVID-19.

Angelia Foster, Marshfield Medical Center's chief administrative officer, said they are in the eye of a storm as cases are predicted to surge again this month following the Thanksgiving holiday.

"You can’t do 60 to 100% more work with 20 to 25% less staff," said Foster. 

While COVID-19 cases have decreased somewhat in the last two weeks, hospitalizations are still high for what Marshfield Medical Center records this time of year. They are now also dealing with elevated staff shortages due to illness and exposure to COVID-19 or a close contact.

The medical center's prediction shows they are heading into another surge of positive patients due to people traveling and recent Thanksgiving gatherings. Foster says the combination is concerning.

Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam

On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Department of Health and Human Services sent a 17-person disaster medical assistance team to the Beaver Dam hospital. The group is directed to aid in all forms of COVID-19 patient care.

Foster said the team will leave in a few weeks and the hospital will hopefully then be assisted for 30 days by the Department of Defense. She said the help is coming at a time when several other states are requesting the same thing.

"Dodge County has been on the New York Times list for positivity for greater than nine weeks," Foster said.

Marshfield Medical Center in Beaver Dam

At this time, Dodge County has recorded over 9,000 COVID-19 cases and 83 virus-related deaths. It has consistently been on the nation's top lists for new cases per 100,000 residents.

"We all have reason to be concerned," said Foster.

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Foster said the next few weeks are critical. Health officials continue to urge people to mask-up and practice social distancing and ask that if you feel sick to stay home and avoid getting others sick.

Officials are also asking people to reconsider holiday gatherings in the coming weeks.

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