'We want this to be safe:' COVID-19 precautions in place, Advocate Aurora expanding services

MILWAUKEE -- Advocate Aurora Health is expanding its services across the state at all locations following a plateau that the company said it is seeing in the number of coronavirus cases.

If you had a medical procedure canceled a few months ago, now is the time to call and discuss your options. If you do reschedule now, you will have to wear a mask and practice social distancing inside.

"There's a fair amount of people out there that have delayed care," said Mary Beth Kingston, chief nursing officer with Aurora.

Advocate Aurora Health staff members will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) as they begin to accept patients needing elective surgeries again.

"We're encouraging patients to reach out and schedule those appointments as well and not simply wait for a call," Kingston said. "We do not want people to delay these procedures that could potentially have a long-term impact on their health.

"There are still needs for people to come in and get their blood tested for monitoring chronic conditions."


Mammograms, skin grafts and cancer screenings are just a few of the procedures now being rebooked -- all on a case-by-case basis.

"Timing for the lifting of restrictions on elective procedures is going to vary because we look very carefully at each site and we look at the degree of COVID-19," said Kingston.

Those having surgery will be required to be tested for the coronavirus.

"I just want to underscore that we can't just turn it all on at once. We want this to be safe," Dr. Gary Stuck, chief medical officer with Aurora, said. "We are testing every patient that is getting an elective surgery."

Aurora health officials said more than 100,000 virtual appointments have been scheduled since the pandemic began. That service is expected to become a new normal.

"For patients that maybe have COPD and heart failure, and other conditions like this, we can touch the patient in a new and actually better way by reaching out to them virtually," said Stuck.

At health centers, guests will see more signage in common areas reminding patients about the importance of handwashing and social distancing. There will also be more frequent sanitation of all facility common areas.