The letter stressed that “Wisconsin is in a bad place right now with no sign of things getting better without action. We are, quite simply, out of time ... As health care providers, we are terrified of that becoming reality.”
As cases in Wisconsin continue to rise, over 1,000 UW-Health employees signed the letter, stressing the importance of wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding gatherings outside of the household as means of reducing the likelihood of contracting and spreading COVID-19.
“Without immediate change, our hospitals will be too full to treat all of those with the virus and those with other illnesses or injuries,” the letter said. “Soon you or someone you love may need us, but we won’t be able to provide the life-saving care you need, whether for COVID-19, cancer, heart disease or other urgent conditions.”
Gov. Tony Evers recently extended the mask mandate and renewed the public health emergency, but there are still widespread concerns about the detriments following potential upcoming Thanksgiving holiday gatherings and public adherence to COVID-19 guidelines across the state.
In a Nov. 20 press release, the Office of the Governor highlighted that Wisconsin is experiencing “unprecedented, near-exponential” growth of the pandemic, with the average daily number of new cases currently at 6,254 and an increase of 260% since Sept. 20.
“Outside our hospitals, we still see big gatherings with no masks. We hear about Thanksgiving dinner plans that will send even more people to our already very full COVID-19 units — units full of patients who might not survive a fight with this virus,” the letter reads.
Hospitals across Wisconsin are experiencing high-capacities, with over a third of hospitals across the state operating at full-capacity and are concerned about the potential for more surges of cases.
UW-Health employees, in the letter, emphasized that “inside our hospitals, we have patients gasping for breath, needing a ventilator to survive and too often dying ... Some tell us they didn’t think COVID-19 was serious. Others say they just wanted to live their lives and get back to normal.”
As Thanksgiving fast-approaches, UW-Health employees hope that the people of Wisconsin work with them to prevent the situation at-hand from worsening, highlighting that “we don’t need to do this forever … but the virus is here now and the vaccines are not,” and that adherence to current public health guidance is critical.
“Wisconsin, you are our family. Our only hope right now is you,” reiterated UW-Health.