DHS Provides Update on Support for Wisconsin’s Health Care System
Placing staff to meet increased demand for health care services during the COVID-19 surge
The Department of Health Services (DHS) today provided an update on Wisconsin’s efforts to help health and residential care providers provide critical care to Wisconsinites during this COVID-19 surge. In collaboration with our state's hospitals and long-term care providers, since October 19, 2021, DHS has worked with staffing agencies to recruit 567 nurses, nursing assistants, and other types of health care workers to support 72 health and residential care facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities across the state. This support is partially funded by resources provided to the state of Wisconsin under the American Rescue Plan Act.
“It is essential that our hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living providers have the staff needed to provide critical care to folks across our state,” said Governor Tony Evers. “The good news today is that we have helped recruit nearly 600 temporary staff to provide critical care during the current COVID-19 surge. But I also want to be clear: our hospitals and health care systems are still under tremendous pressure, and they need every Wisconsinite to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. I urge every Wisconsinite to mask up and get the COVID-19 vaccine or your booster dose if you haven’t received it already.”
Support for staffing contracts is critical as COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are surging. The seven-day average of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin is 6,808–a 60 percent increase since last week. Today also shows a record number of new confirmed cases, with 11,547. Tuesday was another record day for the number of people in intensive care units with COVID-19, at 462 of a total 1,963 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Over the last week, the number of Wisconsinites who have COVID-19 and are hospitalized has increased by 291 patients.
“We are pursuing every available option to provide staffing support to our health systems and long term care providers to get through this surge,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge. “We are proud to be working with our health care partners to bring on this temporary support while COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin are surging at all-time highs. This support is essential to ensuring Wisconsinites have access to the care they need.”
Health and residential care providers like hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities that need additional staffing support are encouraged to participate in the DHS Agency Staffing Resource Assistance Service. Information about the types of facilities that are eligible to make staffing requests, along with how to participate in the program, is available on the DHS COVID-19 Staffing Resources webpage.
In late December, DHS issued a public health advisory calling on all Wisconsinites to take urgent action to prevent additional hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. To slow the spread of the Omicron variant, DHS is urging all Wisconsinites to take the following actions immediately:
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19, including a booster dose as soon as you are eligible.
- Wear a well-fitting mask in indoor spaces when others are present who do not live with you.
- Staying home if you have any symptoms.
- Getting tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or if you are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.
Anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested, regardless of their vaccination status. DHS currently provides free at-home collection kits, a type of at-home test, for all Wisconsinites. If you are exposed to COVID-19, get tested 5-7 days after exposure. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, stay home while you are waiting for your results. Trusted testing partners include local health departments, community testing sites, pharmacies, and health care providers. At-home COVID-19 tests can also be used before gathering with family and friends.
To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider in your community, visit Vaccines.gov, or call 211 or 877-947-2211. For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. We encourage you to follow @DHSWI on Facebook, Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram for more information on COVID-19.