MADISON, Wis.  — Hospital beds across the Badger State are filling up, giving health experts déjà​ vu of exactly one year ago.

What You Need To Know

  • Bed capacity at Wisconsin hospitals is stretched thin across most of the state

  • Hospitals are typically busy this time of year with influenza and upper respiratory viruses

  • Patients should be prepared for longer waits at some hospitals


This time of year hospitals are routinely busy with flu, upper respiratory viruses and other medical situations like accidents and traumas. But Wisconsin's surging COVID-19 case rate is once again stressing the state's health care system.

"It's very tight. Hospital capacity is being stretched quite significantly all across the state and that's both in-patient beds as well as our ICU capacity," Eric Borgerding, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association, said. 

He said hospitals are bracing for a lot of unknowns.  

"We don't know what the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday is going to be; we don't know what the impact of this new variant of COVID is going to be," he said. 

Borgerding shared he doesn't anticipate the hospital capacity situation getting better anytime soon.  

"While things seem to be going back to normal on the outside of hospitals, inside hospitals we are very much stressed," he said.

He said he understands the desire of people to get back to normal life but asked they think about all the frontline health care workers and take precautions, like getting vaccinated or getting a booster shot.  

"We still believe that is the best way to protect yourself from severe cases of COVID," Borgerding said. "Those types of cases of COVID that have put over 1,400 people right now in Wisconsin hospitals."

He wants the public to be aware there might be longer waits at hospitals across the state and warned patients might have to be transferred in certain situations. 

Borgerding called it a difficult time in health care. 

"Hospitals are doing everything they can across the state right now to preserve capacity to treat those sick folks that come in," he said.