Tomah Health suspending urgent care due to high patient demand

TOMAH (WKBT) — Tomah Health will suspend its Urgent Care options starting Jan. 1 due to “extremely high patient demand” caused in part by large COVID-19 patient visits.

Tomah Health Emergency Services Director Suzanne Downing said the suspension of Urgent Care services will allow staff to provide care to an extremely high number of emergency department cases.

“We continue to see record numbers in our Emergency Department which has put a strain on the care provided to emergency patients,” Downing said. “The record patient volumes are a mix of illnesses including COVID patients who are coming into our Emergency Department,” she said.

She said the Emergency Department has experienced more than 90 patients per day lately.

Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Tracy Myhre 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 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 health care services.

“People who are coming in are more acutely ill, which then requires more hospitalization.”

Under normal circumstances, Tomah Health offers Urgent Care to patients with non-life-threatening illnesses or injuries without an appointment from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Downing doesn’t know how long the closure will last.

In the meantime, patients with minor injuries or illnesses can schedule an appointment at the hospital’s Warrens Clinic, which is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.


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