Last week, Rock County’s hospitals – Beloit Health System, Edgerton Hospital, MercyHealth and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Janesville – reported their highest numbers of hospitalized COVID-19 patients to date.

On Oct. 22, 33 community members were receiving inpatient care due to the virus and its effects. On Oct. 21, there were 37 community members hospitalized with COVID-19.

In the months since COVID-19 pandemic response began, Rock County hospitalizations have come in waves.

Over the past weeks, however, the numbers have largely continued to rise.

One month ago, on Sept. 21, there were 9 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county.

Two months ago, on Aug. 21, there were 4 individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county.

The sharp rise in hospitalizations is concerning, as Rock County hospitals are having fewer open beds available to provide care for patients with COVID-19 infections and other illnesses or injuries.

The health systems each have surge plans created should the patient population exceed available beds, but the hope is that they will not need to be activated and that they will not need to transfer patients to an alternative care site such as the field hospital that has been established at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.

It is important to note that while not all inpatients with COVID-19 require ICU-level care, some do, and they need specialized equipment like ventilators which are in limited supply around the globe.

Many patients with COVID-19 also stay in the hospital for longer periods of time.

The fall and winter months also typically have higher hospitalization rates. As Rock County begins to enter influenza season in conjunction with COVID-19, the Rock County Public Health Department and Rock County’s Hospitals would like to remind citizens that they truly do play a tremendous role in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

To help keep hospital beds open, it is vital that community members help to flatten the curve.

Continue to:

- Stay home when possible

- Wear masks or face coverings that cover both your nose and mouth

- Practice good hand hygiene, using hand sanitizer or soap and water for at least 20 seconds

- Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet

- Stay home when you feel unwell

- Avoid large gatherings

- Continue to follow Public Health Guidance

Free COVID-19 testing is available at Blackhawk Technical College – Central Campus Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information visit www.blackhawk.edu/coronavirus.

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