Record patient numbers has caused Tomah Health to suspend Urgent Care on Jan. 1, due to extremely high demand caused in part to large numbers of COVID-19 patient visits.
“Because of the extremely high patient volumes we are suspending our Urgent Care to allow staff to focus on emergency cases,” Tomah Health Emergency Services director Suzanne Downing said in a statement, adding that the Emergency Department has experienced more than 90 patients per day, lately.
Downing was unsure how long the suspension will last.
“We continue to see record numbers in our Emergency Department, which has put a strain on the care provided to emergency patients,” Downing added. “The record patient volumes are a mix of illnesses including COVID patients, who are coming into our Emergency Department.”
Urgent Care is normally provided to patients with non-life threatening illnesses or injuries from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week without an appointment.
In the meantime, Downing said patients with minor injuries or illnesses can be seen at the hospital’s Warrens Clinic (map), which continues to see patients Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Call 608-377-8792.
Tomah Health has also been dealing with the challenge of finding available ICU beds in light of shortages across Wisconsin, due in part to rising COVID cases.
“When we have patients who require ICU level of care, we look to tertiary centers throughout the state to take those patients,” Hospital chief nursing officer Tracy Myhre said in a statement. “We have seen an increase in patients that are requiring ICU care and are having a difficult time finding ICU beds but we are adapting to the situation.”
Myhre, who is also the incident commander of the hospital’s Emergency Response team during the COVID pandemic, added that the situation has resulted in additional wait times and changes in patient transfer patterns, meaning patients may be sent further away than normal.
The situation in Tomah is a result of multiple issues, Myhre said, including rising COVID cases and people who have put off regular health care visits and screenings but now require additional health care services.
“People who are coming in are more acutely ill, which then requires more hospitalization,” Myhre said.