Aurora Health Care pausing some community testing sites amid COVID-19 surge

NOW: Aurora Health Care pausing some community testing sites amid COVID-19 surge

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Aurora Health Care system is hitting the pause button on three of their community testing sites, including one in Milwaukee, as cases continue to surge. The announcement has city leaders worried.

A spokesperson from Aurora says they’re pausing testing sites at Sinai, Green Bay and Kenosha so they can redirect staff to providing care for patients at their bedside, but Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the city needs their partnership to continue.

“We need all hands on deck right now,” said Mayor Barrett.

Mayor Barrett says on Monday, just three of the city’s community testing sites saw nearly 4,000 people get tested. The rise in cases is putting testing in high demand.

“The Aurora site-- they do hundreds a week, and we need that partnership, we need all of our partners at the table,” he says.

The mayor’s office has reached out to Aurora and is waiting on a solution, he understands everyone is having to do more because it’s a difficult time.

“I know that they, and the other systems, are inundated with patients right now, so I’m sympathetic to that, but we have an obligation I believe, to continue this community testing ,” added Mayor Barrett.

Meanwhile, Ascension Medical Group plans on hiring more people for their Milwaukee area testing sites.

“For me, I find that testing is one of the most important aspects to being able to control the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Patricia Golden, regional primary care medical director at Ascension Medical Group.

Dr. Golden says they are also winterizing sites to prepare for colder weather.

For us, it’s incredibly important for us to be able to understand who has it and where the virus is,” she added.

“Once one leaves, what’s the incentive for the others to stay? And if that happens, that’s when things really start falling apart,” said Mayor Barrett.

With the state seeing 14,121 reported cases between Tuesday and Wednesday, Mayor Barrett and doctors say the numbers require immediate action from the community to stay vigilant with staying home, masking, washing your hands and distancing.

“As we get to the even colder months, my fear is that this is going to get much worse unless we start turning things around right now,” said Mayor Barrett.

“It’s going to be very critical, because you know, now that we’re seeing our numbers going up it’s really putting quite a burden on our health systems,” added Dr. Golden.

The Wisconsin Medical Society tells CBS 58 Aurora’s decision to stop testing and move staff around is just the beginning, they worry elective procedures and acute care for other patients will soon stop at hospitals if the situation continues to escalate.

Share this article: