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Tomah Health Adapting to ICU Bed Shortage

Officials at Tomah Health are dealing with the challenge of finding available ICU beds in light of shortages across the state caused in part to rising COVID cases.

Tomah Health Chief Nursing Officer Tracy Myhre MSN, RN, said the critical access hospital provides emergency and urgent care but not an ICU unit, which has been challenging. “When we have patients who require ICU level of care, we look to tertiary centers throughout the state to take those patients. We have seen an increase in patients that are requiring ICU care and are having a difficult time finding ICU beds; but we are adapting to the situation.”

Myhre who is also the incident commander of the hospital’s Emergency Response team during the COVID pandemic said the situation has resulted in additional wait times and changes in patient transfer patterns meaning patients are sent further away than normal.

Myhre said the patient situation in Tomah is a result of multiple issues including rising COVID cases and people who have put off regular health care visits and screenings and now require additional healthcare services. “People who are coming in are more acutely ill, which then requires more hospitalization.”

She added that the public can help by being fully vaccinated against COVID and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations including social distancing and wearing a mask when in public.

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Tomah Health