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Green Bay hospitals experience record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations

State health officials report more than 100,000 positive cases of the virus since the pandemic started.
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Local health experts express concern over the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the state. That number surpassed 100,000 cases since the pandemic started on Sunday.

“Right now, we’re in a position where we’re starting to see 17% to 20% positivity rates,” said Dr. Ashok Rai, Prevea Health President and CEO. “It’s dangerous to be doing anything right now.”

The milestone comes as local hospitals also report a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“People aren’t following physical distancing, they aren’t following masking, and when they’re told to quarantine, they’re also not following that or isolating when they’re positive,” said Dr. Rai.

In fact, Dr. Rai reports a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations at Green Bay hospitals on Sunday and Monday.

“We’re actually at an all-time high right now in terms of hospitalizations in our region,” said Jim Dietsche, Bellin Health COO and CFO.

“ICU patients are up, patients are very sick, and they’re not as old as you might think,” said Dr. Rai.

He tells Action 2 News patients are not only in their 70s and 80s, but also their 40s and 50s.

“When there’s more incidents in the community, it’s very much harder to pinpoint it to one specific area,” said Dietsche.

Many people testing positive report going to weddings, tailgating parties, and other large social gatherings.

“Really good people in this community are dying that don’t need to die because of attitudes and behaviors like that,” said Dr. Rai.

Right now, both Dietsche and Dr. Rai say they do have the resources to care for COVID-19 patients and are not yet overwhelmed. However, Rai adds that the amount of beds and staff available to provide care can change overnight.

“I’m hoping that people will continue to listen and do the right thing, and we can get that percent positivity down,” said Rai. “It can fall pretty quickly if people are isolating themselves and quarantining themselves when we diagnosed them or tell them they’ve been exposed.”

“We have to reverse the trend,” said Dietsche. “There’s no question about it. It’s not trending in the right direction.”

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