State-run voluntary isolation centers open in Madison and Milwaukee for coronavirus patients

NOW: State-run voluntary isolation centers open in Madison and Milwaukee for coronavirus patients

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) Wisconsin has opened two state-run voluntary isolation centers in Madison and Milwaukee. 

The sites are at the Lowell Center in Madison and a Super 8 in Milwaukee. 

"As the state’s response to COVID-19 continues, we want to make sure those who need a safe place to stay have one available to them,” Gov. Evers said in a press release.

“These voluntary self-isolation sites help respond to the pandemic in two ways. First, they will provide a valuable resource for those who have mild symptoms of COVID-19, leaving valuable hospital space available for others who need it, and they also provide a safe place for people to stay so they don’t spread COVID-19 to others.”

The facilities are for those suspected to have coronavirus or who have a confirmed case. People need to be referred by a medical provider or public health official. The expected stay will be about 14 days, or 72 hours after symptoms dissipate, but a person can leave at any time. Those staying will have wellness checks by phone. 

The Wisconsin National Guard says there are 12 troops assigned to each facility.  

"There are teams of Wisconsin National Guard, citizen soldiers, airmen who are augmenting the staff at those facilities and our personnel are serving as medics for medical monitoring of individuals at those facilities and then also providing some administrative support at the facilities as well," said Captain Joe Trovato. 

There are also nearly 30 members of the Wisconsin National Guard helping at Clare Hall on the grounds of St. Francis De Sales, where people who are homeless are being sheltered. 

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says they've been talking with the Army Corp of Engineers about additional places that could be used for healthcare facilities. 

"The hospitals, I think, have come together in a very effective way in creating different tiers or different stages of when they will need to expand and have different levels of care and this would be additional level that would go beyond that, would be for people who need to have some sort of assistance in almost a hospital type setting that would free up more hospital beds," said Barrett. 

He said no decisions on locations have been made yet. 

"The estimates and the modeling have the surge in mid to late April and so that's basically, two to three weeks away, and what you've seen in Chicago, what you've seen in New York is it takes some time to set up these facilities. You're always hoping you don't need them, but you don't want to be in a situation where you need them, and you don't have them."

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