Eleven doctors plead to community in letter to take action against COVID-19 spread

NOW: Eleven doctors plead to community in letter to take action against COVID-19 spread

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the alarming growth of new cases, nearly a dozen doctors in southeast Wisconsin united together to send a letter pleading the community to take action to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The letter dated Thursday, Oct. 29, says in the last 72-hours southeast Wisconsin has seen nearly 4,500 people test positive and nearly 600 are in the hospitals with COVID-19. Doctors say it’s not just about numbers, it’s about people like your family and friends.

“We want to make a plea to them that this is real—and that we need their help to turn the tide,” said Dr. Gary Stuck, chief medical officer for Aurora Advocate Health.

Doctors from 11 area hospitals and health centers say it’s time to take action, and they want their request to resonate.

“Every one of you has the power, every single one of you has the power to keep yourself safe and the power to keep everyone around you safe,” said Dr. Gregory Brusko, chief clinical officer of Ascension Wisconsin.

They understand people are tired, but say they are too.

“We understand very well that the public is tired, frankly—so are we,” said Dr. Brusko.

“Clinicians, physicians, nurses—they’re tired also and they have some fatigue and they would plead with us,” adds Dr. Stuck.

With only 13-percent of floor beds and 27-percent of ICU beds available in Milwaukee County as of Thursday, doctors want people to know how hard it is to watch COVID-19 patients suffer.

“Our nurses holding our patients' hands as they’re slipping away and they’re being separated from our loved ones—it’s very difficult,” says Dr. Stuck.

“With the rapid surge and the profound increases that we’re seeing, we’re seeing a little bit higher sicker population over the more recent times,” said Dr. Brusko.

In the letter, doctors say their request is simple and doesn’t cost much. Wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance and get your flu shot.

“Our message is clear. You trust us to take care of you when you’re sick, right? We’re asking that you trust us,” adds Dr. Brusko.

“How we all handle this together will mitigate or turn the tide on how this story ends,” said Dr.Stuck.

Dr. Stuck says while a good amount of patients are going home, his concern is many of them will have long-term problems that affect their lungs, heart and brain for the rest of their lives.  It’s his reminder that the disease is debilitating even for some who survive.

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