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COVID-19 beds reach full capacity at Aspirus Wausau Hospital

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — The Aspirus Wausau Hospital is now, like many hospitals across the nation, facing one of its biggest fears.

"We will discharge 40 or 50 in Wausau alone, and they are filling back up and that is on the COVID side and non COVID side," said Matt Heywood, President and CEO of Aspirus INC.

They are full capacity with all 130 coronavirus beds filled, and expect that more people will need to be admitted after Thanksgiving.

"We could have about 250 patients looking for in-patient beds at Aspirus alone," Heywood said.

However, that can't happen without enough staff.

Aspirus Hospital system currently has 300 staff members out with COVID-19 or with virus symptoms, and as case counts rise the death toll follows.

"In my profession I'm used to death and dying, not uncommonly, but my team is seeing volumes of people dying that they have never had to deal with before," said Dr. Stephen Phillipson Aspirus Wausau Hospital Director of Medicine.

Dr. Phillipson works directly with COVID-19 patients he said once you are put on a ventilator you have 1 in 3 chance of surviving and going home.

They have seen young patients coming and having conversations, then less than 48 hours later they are dead.

As people think about visiting extended family on Thanksgiving, health officials said think again.

"How are you going to feel if you were the asymptomatic one and you go home and spread it to grandma and now grandma is dead." Dr. Phillipson said.

Aspirus is also providing home monitoring and care for patients with minor COVID cases to help free up beds.

Hospital officals say it is up to the community to act like front line workers to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Everyone in the community is asked to continue to masking up and social distancing.

Victoria Saha

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