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Area hospitals prepare for possible surge in COVID-19 cases

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Wausau, Wis. (WAOW) -- Following Governor Tony Evers' extension of the mask mandate yesterday, area hospitals are urging people to continue following safety guidelines.

Doctors and officials at Aspirus Wausau Hospital say the situation in our area is not classified as critical yet. They say it could happen soon if the people of Wisconsin don't follow all prescribed safety guidelines.

"We're starting to see cases rise again across central Wisconsin," said Jesse Tischer, Senior Vice President at Aspirus Wausau hospital.

Officials are now calling the situation in Wisconsin "pivotal." While Aspirus has 3 intensive care units across its system, beds are filling up.

With 27 inpatients across the entire system, it's the largest number they've had since the pandemic started.

"What that tells me is that the increases that we are seeing across the nation are now making their way here to Central Wisconsin," Tischer said.

Most patients that are hospitalized are over fifty. But according to Aspirus officials, who cited state data, well over 50% of people testing positive are under 40.

"Although we might be seeing this activity in a younger population right now, I think that's a sign that it's going to hit the older population as well," said Dr. Ryan Andrews, Chief Medical Officer at Aspirus Wausau.

In a statement, officials at Marshfield Clinic also confirming contact tracers are becoming overwhelmed as more and more positive cases come in.

Doctors are prepared for the possibility of a surge in cases.

"If the trend continues the way it is, we are going to need to take additional actions across our region not just at Aspirus but at other facilities as well," Tischer said.

While Tischer and Andrews did say Aspirus is equipped to handle that possible surge, they're urging people to follow safety guidelines to reduce the chance of that happening.

Natalie Sopyla

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