Milwaukee leaders moving forward with plans for alternative COVID-19 care facilities

MILWAUKEE -- As the number of cases and deaths continues to rise, Milwaukee leaders worked through the weekend preparing for what to do in the event that hospitals run out of space for COVID-19 patients.

Staff at Milwaukee-area hospitals say more and more medical professionals are having to switch from the jobs they normally do, to help treat patients with COVID-19.

Gov. Tony Evers

"To our first responders and health care professionals, who we know are experiencing the stress on the front lines of the pandemic, let me say this. We are here for you and we see you," said Gov. Tony Evers. "As we work to flatten the curve, we see your dedication."

Milwaukee health officials believe, currently, the peak in the number of cases will come at, approximately, the end of April or early May. That timeline could change.

About half of all of Wisconsin's confirmed COVID-19 cases are in Milwaukee County, where government officials project that hospitals could be overwhelmed and run out of space.

Officials say a proposal to turn the State Fair Expo Center into an alternative care facility could be finalized in the next few days. As the plan stands now, the Army Corps of Engineers would then hire contractors to bring in between 500 and 1,000 beds.

To prevent more cases of the virus, Gov. Evers has urged all Wisconsinites to continue following guidelines issued by the CDC.

"Wisconsin is resilient, you are resilient, we are more resilient together and resilience is the way forward," said Gov. Evers.

Details on staffing for the possible overflow site at State Fair Park are up in the air.