Photo courtesy Aspirus.

Wausau Pilot & Review

Aspirus Health is among the many systems that are delaying non-emergent surgeries that would require a hospital stay because patient rooms are currently in high demand due to the most recent COVID-19 surge, according to a media release on Friday.

“When you need access to emergency care or care that requires an inpatient hospital bed, that care may be delayed or it might be harder to come by,” said Robin Rudie, Aspirus Wausau Hospital Emergency Department Director. “We might be asking you to consider transferring to another hospital location in our system to get a bed.”

The majority of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 continue to be unvaccinated, Aspirus officials said again on Friday. The Marathon County Health Department has put the county in the ‘critically high’ category for COVID-19 cases.

While some people have genuine medical or religious reasons to not get vaccinated, some have succumbed to conspiracy theories or misinformation circulating on the internet.

As of Dec. 17, 106 of the 137 patients in the Aspirus system hospitalized for COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated. More than 90% of the 43 COVID-19 ICU patients are not fully vaccinated, health officials said.

Aspirus noted that Wisconsin this week saw its highest level of COVID-19 hospitalizations since January 2021, citing data from the Wisconsin Hospital Association. The state is among the top five where cases are highest per 100,000, according to The New York Times.

“I’ve been a nurse for 20 years. I’ve been at Aspirus for 22 years and this has been by far the hardest two years of my career,” Rudie said.

Patients are still encouraged to seek medical attention if they need care but should be prepared to wait for non-emergent needs.