Dane County once again set a new record for COVID-19 hospitalizations with 103 current inpatients on Monday, after breaking the three-digit mark for hospitalizations for the first time on Friday amid a surge in virus cases throughout Wisconsin.
“The Covid-19 pandemic is starting to breach what was once a firewall, growing numbers in our hospitals and intensive care units,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement. “This virus knows no boundaries and the sickness it's inflicting upon this community is causing hardship, fear, and loss.”
A third of people hospitalized are in intensive care, while five of these individuals are pediatric patients. 115 new cases had been reported in the county as of Oct. 25. Most reported cases are in the 30-39 year age range. There have been a total of 48 deaths due to COVID-19.
Parisi noted that the toll on doctors, nurses and medical professionals will only grow as long as the number of cases, hospitalized and otherwise, continue to rise.
“What is happening right now is taking an incredible emotional and physical toll that I fear will only compound in the coming months,” Parisi concluded.
Dr. Pam Wetzel, Chief Medical Officer at UnityPoint Health – Meriter echoed this statement, saying that while hospitals are well-equipped to handle positive cases, the surge of inpatient cases may make that more difficult.
“While we’re in a much better place to handle a surge in COVID-19 cases now, any influx in patients is challenging,” said Dr. Wetzel. “Our hospitals continue to make changes and evolve so we can safely meet the healthcare needs of our community.”
Last Wednesday, Public Health Madison & Dane County announced their move to a crisis model of contact tracing. The announcement came shortly after a spike in newly reported cases on the same day, over 300.
“Like all other health departments in the state, we are struggling to keep up with contact tracing. When we consistently have well over 150 new cases per day, we cannot contact all cases and contacts quickly enough to effectively disrupt the spread of COVID-19,” said Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County Janel Heinrich in a press release.
If a person tests positive, they will still be notified of the positive test by their health care provider or testing center. It is no longer guaranteed that a Public Health contact tracer will be able to follow up with tracing for all cases, as the department will be prioritizing contacting individuals with a positive diagnosis.
“Sadly we have reached a place where if you venture out and come into contact with someone with this virus, it may take a while for you and your family to be notified," Parisi said.