Building off of Governor Tony Evers’s November 18 announcement that he will declare another public health emergency and extend the face coverings order through mid-January 2021, the Wisconsin Medical Society (Society) called on the state to help protect physicians and other health care staff in the face of a growing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every day, more Wisconsin physicians... are personally affected by the pandemic, and that means hospital capacities are even more strained,” Society President Erik Gundersen, MD, said in a press statement provided to the state’s media outlets. “Everyone in Wisconsin needs to rally around what can attack this pandemic.
“If we all do this, we can save lives,” Gundersen said.
As various gubernatorial orders have been challenged in the state’s courts as an overreach of executive branch power, Wisconsin’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise – dragging hospitalizations and ICU bed usage numbers along with them. Combined with more health care staff succumbing to the virus itself or quarantining due to exposure, dramatic action is needed to help stave off even worse overall outcomes.
“The Society is continuing to call for all private and public entities to help fight the pandemic and protect our heroic health care workforce,” Society CEO Bud Chumbley, MD, MBA, said. “Physicians can lead the way in urging our communities to put politics aside and do the things that we know make a difference: wash hands, wear masks and stay home.
“The Society will continue to use all of its means to help physicians during the pandemic,” Dr. Chumbley said. “And that includes urging the public to step up for their physicians and the communities they serve.”
As the holiday season approaches – and as COVID-19 cases continue to rise at alarming rates – the Society’s COVID-19 Task Force created this downloadable display that can be used when talking with patients, as a display in examining rooms, lobbies or other areas where patients may see it or give to patients at discharge. Additionally, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) produced an informational piece about how to celebrate the holidays safely.
Physicians can access the Society’s COVID-19 Resources page for additional tools that can help them educate the public about smart COVID-19 behaviors and other information.
Contact Society Chief Policy and Advocacy Officer Mark Grapentine, JD for more information.