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UW Health Doctors Say They're Running Out of Room and Staff is Stretched Thin

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021 -- 12:00 PM

(WMTV) Rooms are running out and medical staff are stretched thin at UW Health facilities as the Omicron variant drives a new surge of COVID-19 cases, the health system is warning.

On Tuesday, UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof cautioned that if this trend continues, they may not have space or staff needed to care for the number of patients they are getting.

“Our staff have been incredible, and they continue to provide the best care even in these difficult circumstances, but ultimately we are struggling to accommodate the volume of patients we’re seeing, and that volume is increasing,” he said.

The pressures of the latest COVID-19 spike extends well beyond those infected with the virus, Pothof noted. As the hospitals fill up, people facing other illnesses or injuries will have a harder time getting the treatment they need.

“We’re dangerously close to the point where there just aren’t resources for all of those cases. You think it can’t happen to you, but it can if we continue to stay on this trajectory,” he continued.

UW Health reported that administrators have taken steps to help manage the influx of patients. They are reducing the number of non-essential procedures being performed to ensure doctors and nurses are available for other urgent needs.

They are also converting spaces to allow them to take in more COVID-19 patients. But, while they have found space for patients, administrators go back to the issue of staffing and having enough medical personnel who are trained in critical care to help all of the patients they are seeing.

The health system continues to urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as their flu shot as soon as possible and to get the booster too, when it is time.

“The number one thing you can do to support healthcare heroes who continue to care for high volumes of very sick patients is to get vaccinated and follow smart public safety guidelines during this surge,” the statement read.

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