By Shereen Siewert

Reevaluating a planned downtown medical clinic is part of an overall response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis that could include consolidating some existing clinic sites, Aspirus President and CEO Matt Heywood said Wednesday during a press briefing.

“Postponing the YMCA clinic on the east side is a strategic example of do you have resources and energy when you are trying to prepare for COVID-19 to build a clinic in the next 12 months,” Heywood said. “You might build some clinics, but you can’t build all the clinics you originally planned. It doesn’t mean we won’t do it. It means we need to revisit and re-prioritize.”

Wausau Pilot & Review first reported on the project’s status on Monday.

Work on the proposed Aspirus clinic, part of a $40 million health and wellness campus partnership with the YMCA in downtown Wausau, ceased abruptly in late March.

To make way for the project, the city planned to reroute State Hwy. 52 and Bus. Hwy. 51. Mayor Robert Mielke on Monday confirmed that those plans, along with utility upgrades for the site, are also on hold.

Smaller clinics could be consolidated in the near future as well, as the organization seeks to best direct resources while dealing with the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We know we have to be prepared to be here long term,” Heywood said. “We know in May the economy isn’t going to go exactly where it needs to be.”

Heywood said the organization could revisit the viability of plans in 12 to 18 months, but quarterly reviews are also possible.

“It will all depend on how accurate our scenario is,” Heywood said.