Concerned health care providers in southeast Wisconsin issued a plea to the public today: COVID-19 is real. Take action to protect yourself and your community. As the region continues to break daily records of newly diagnosed patients, hospitalizations and deaths with no signs of slowing, their message is clear: we can’t stop fighting COVID-19.
Recognizing that the public is suffering from “COVID fatigue” and sometimes hearing conflicting information, physician leaders from Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension Wisconsin, Children’s Wisconsin, Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, ProHealth Care and Milwaukee’s Community Health Centers issued the joint plea to address the public’s weariness about doing what works. There are four simple steps that every person should take:
1. Wear a mask.
2. Wash your hands.
3. Watch your distance.
4. Get your flu shot.
“We’re seeing much of the COVID spread happening at family gatherings – birthday parties, baby showers and quinceañeras.” Dr. Pamela Wilson, chief medical officer at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers said. “It’s difficult to keep these celebrations small and safe, but it’s absolutely necessary to fight this disease.”
In the last 72 hours, 4,463 people tested positive for COVID-19 in southeastern Wisconsin.* Currently, there are 567 COVID patients in the region’s hospitals.
“Every day we see the numbers going up and up,” Dr. Gary Stuck, Advocate Aurora Health chief medical officer, explained. “But this crisis isn’t just about numbers. It’s about neighbors. Your family. Your friends. Your coworkers. And it’s about health care workers, our essential workers and our first responders. If they get sick, who will be there to keep our communities going?”
“As the cold weather arrives and we move indoors, we have to step up our COVID prevention, not sit back.,” said Dr. Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer of Children’s Wisconsin. “And, getting a flu shot is part of that prevention. Avoiding the flu will help reduce hospitalizations.”
“Our patients trust us to take care of them when they are sick,” Dr. Gregory Brusko DO, chief clinical officer, Ascension Wisconsin, said. “We’re asking them to trust us when we say: COVID is real and we need you to keep yourself safe, keep us safe and keep our community safe.”
*Reflects Southeast Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC): Fond du Lac County, Kenosha County, Milwaukee County, Ozaukee County, Racine County, Sheboygan County, Walworth County, Washington County, Waukesha County
Data Sources: COVID-19 cases come from Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System. All other data comes from EMResource.