State Fair Park field hospital admits first coronavirus patient as Wisconsin sets a new record for deaths amid surge in cases

A overview of the 530-bed alternate care facility at State Fair Park in West Allis, intended to help free up beds at hospitals inundated with coronavirus patients. The field hospital is to help hospitals in the Fox Valley and northern Wisconsin cope with a surge of COVID-19 patients that is leaving some facilities there with just a few open beds. The state-run facility — one of a few of its kind nationwide — will serve patients who need help but aren't in need of hospital-level care in order to leave open beds in hospitals for more serious patients. 

The first patient has been admitted to the field hospital at State Fair Park, as Wisconsin’s surge in coronavirus cases shows no sign of improving.

Gov. Tony Evers announced that the field hospital, which opened last week, accepted its first COVID-19 patient Wednesday, as Wisconsin set another single-day record of 48 deaths. More than 4,000 additional cases were also reported.

“We are thankful to have this facility available to Wisconsinites and our hospitals, but also saddened that this is where Wisconsin is at today,” Evers said in a statement. “Folks, please stay home. Help us protect our communities from this highly-contagious virus and avoid further strain on our hospitals.”

The state Department of Health Services also reported 4,205 new coronavirus cases as the state continued to work through a backlog of data from the weekend system outage.

“With record high numbers of positive cases, hospitalizations, and staffing shortages, there has never been a more critical time for Wisconsinites to act and help stop the spread,” said Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “That’s why we ask all Wisconsinites to do their part. Stay home, wear a mask and stay six feet apart when you go out for your essential errands, avoid gatherings and events, and wash your hands.”

COVID-19 patients who are less sick but still require hospital care will be treated at the field hospital.

Patients must be between 18 and 70 years old and have been hospitalized for at least 48 hours before they can be transported to the medical station. 

The patients also must have vital signs that are close to normal, fevers below 100 degrees and must be able to walk on their own or with the assistance of one other person.

The patients treated at the facility may need oxygen therapy, additional rest or medication, Standridge said. The patients typically will stay about three to six days.

Contact Mary Spicuzza at (414) 224-2324 or mary.spicuzza@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MSpicuzzaMJS.

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