MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today announced that the U.S. Department of Defense will deploy approximately 45 U.S. Army medical personnel to assist the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin’s healthcare system is strained, and our frontline healthcare workers are doing amazing work under extraordinary circumstances,” Evers said. “Many of them working back-to-back shifts in head-to-toe PPE, putting their health and safety on the line to take care of our vulnerable COVID-19 patients. This additional support is crucial and I thank the Department of Defense for providing these resources to the state.”
The incoming medical personnel will support Marshfield Medical Center facilities in Rice Lake as well as Marshfield, Eau Claire and Beaver Dam. The Marshfield Clinic system has been utilizing volunteers from the Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry, but the need for more staff to meet patient demand remains a challenge.
“We are deeply grateful for the support of the Department of Defense as we continue to deal with the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Susan Turney, Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO, said. “Because of the prolonged and intense nature of this crisis, many hospitals are near full capacity and medical staff is exhausted. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen the importance of partnerships in meeting this momentous challenge. We look forward to partnering with military medical personnel to provide the care our patients need.”
The number of COVID-19 patients at Marshfield Clinic Health System’s 10 hospitals has decreased the past two weeks, slightly alleviating staffing challenges for the short term. However, the Health System is starting to see an increase in patients over the past two days and anticipates it will continue to increase, which could be attributed to people gathering during Thanksgiving and a greater number of people going out in public without masks.