'Hospitals are filling up faster than we’ve ever seen': Wisconsin doctors hope for state aid following Evers' address
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Medical Society is echoing Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' call asking people in Wisconsin to stay home.
Evers made the health care industry a large focus of Tuesday night's address as he advised the public to stay home.
"Our health care workers are going to work everyday working three sometimes four shifts in a row often having to reuse or share masks and putting themselves and their families at risk to do their jobs," the governor said.
Dr. Bud Chumbley is the CEO of the Wisconsin Medical Society, the state's largest association of medical doctors. He compared the governor's address to former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chats.
"He just said, 'Look, things are really bad. And we all have to pull together to make things better.' So maybe that'll resonate with some people who just didn't like the fact that they were being mandated to do something," Chumbley said.
Evers said Tuesday night he plans to release a package of COVID-19 legislation.
Chumbley said he would like to see more financial help for health care systems and businesses from the state and federal government. He said the biggest problem the health care industry faces right now is staffing shortages, especially nursing shortages.
"I believe we're just as bad as New York was (in the spring). A lot of people flew in from all over the country. Right now, (other states have to) keep their own doctors and nurses, so they don't have extra people to send to Wisconsin to help us out," Chumbley explained.
Dr. Jerry Halverson, chair of the society's Board of Directors, painted a grim picture in a statement he released Wednesday, Nov. 11.
“Wisconsin’s health care system is under increasing stress because of the pandemic. Our hospitals are filling up faster than we’ve ever seen. Physicians, nurses and other providers have been incredible as new treatments are developed and lives are saved. But doctors are only human - and the horrific increase in hospitalizations is simply not sustainable," Halverson said in part.
Chumbley wants to see more financial support from the state for testing and tracking the virus. As flu season approaches, he said hospitals will likely see more shortages of personal protective equipment. He remains hopeful about a vaccine, but said the state should have a distribution plan in place.
"The Pfizer vaccine seems to be very effective, but it has to be stored at some ridiculously low temperature, -90 degrees Celsius. Not everybody has those facilities," Chumbley said.
He hopes Evers can come to a consensus with Republican leaders and find bipartisan solutions.
"The political rancor and the politicization of all this, the partisanship and the mixed messaging has really caused confusion, I think, in the public. If you had the Legislature -- the Senate, the Assembly -- and the governor all coming up with the same message that this is what we have to do, that might be a real plus for the state," Chumbley said.