MONROE — As Wisconsin enters the second week of Gov. Tony Evers' order to stay at home and COVID-19 cases continue to rise locally, Monroe Clinic reports that, for now, it has enough supplies and capacity to care for patients.
"At this point in time, we can more than double our current capacity and still be at an adequate level of care for our patients," Laura Lippold, Monroe Clinic spokesperson, wrote in an email to the Times. She said the Clinic also has what it needs for medical protective gear like masks and gloves but is preparing for the anticipated high demand as COVID-19 cases rise rapidly locally and nationwide.
As of April 1, seven Green County residents have tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus and 110 have tested negative, according to state health department data. COVID-19 testing in the county began March 11 but nearly all the positive cases have been reported in the past week.
It's been one week since the governor issued his "Safer at Home" order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and state health officials say it will likely be several more weeks before we are able to start to see the results of this protective measure.
Because of the lag time between infection, symptom onset and testing result, "the numbers you're seeing today and in the near term are people who were infected before we started Safer at Home," according to the state Department of Health.
COVID-19 test results are taking up to 10 days to process, said Mike Sanders, public information officer for the Green County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the team of officials and leaders that meets every other weekday to discuss the local response to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the April 1 meeting, Sanders said there was "no big news" and a continued emphasis on following the governor's order to stay home, isolate and not gather in groups of 10 or more people.
The EOC group heard reports of people in the area still having large group gatherings in their homes.
"That's going to create community spread if people are getting together like that. ... People need to hunker down and stay home if they can," Sanders said. "Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home."
Monroe Clinic has new processes in place for assisting and guiding patients seeking care, to minimize potential exposure to the virus. The hospital is asking patients who don't need emergency attention to contact the Monroe Clinic FastCare at 100 W. 8th St. after completing an online COVID-19 screening at ssmhealth.com/covid19.