ER doctor describes working on the frontlines during COVID-19 pandemic

NOW: ER doctor describes working on the frontlines during COVID-19 pandemic

GREEN BAY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- We're getting a firsthand look into what it's like for doctors working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Volume for us has been picking up slightly. It’s sometimes challenging in the emergency department because we don’t always have the test results available right away, so we really treat almost all patients as COVID suspects is what we call it. So, that’s patients who potentially have COVID,” Dr. Brad Burmeister, the President-Elect of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said. 

Dr. Brad Burmeister, who works at Bellin Health in Green Bay, just got off his overnight shift in the emergency room when CBS 58 spoke with him, and he says they've had a very busy week. 

"Yesterday, we saw 72 new cases, which was more than the Milwaukee area has seen, which is pretty incredible for us," said Burmeister. 

With cases growing at Bellin Health, Burmeister says the staff is working hard and staying on top of the pandemic. 

"We still have it under control. Our health system has a three-tier plan for our emergency response. We’re currently on tier one. That means we continue to have additional capacity available should we end up needing it,” Burmeister said.

Burmeister says about 27 percent of their cases require patients to need hospitalization, and he expects that number to grow. The ER dose not think Gov. Tony Evers' extension of the Safer at Home order is unrealistic. 

"With near certainty, every time we pick things back up we are going to see an increase in cases and we need to make sure we can manage those patients with the resources we have available, beds in the hospital, personal protective equipment and we also want to make sure we have testing and really robust contact tracing available via our health system," Burmeister said.

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