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Marathon County hospitals, businesses, and schools pleading with community to fight COVID-19

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 8:04 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - On Friday, members from Marathon County’s hospitals, schools, and businesses, shared how COVID-19 has been affecting their fields.

“Every day, we’re operating at levels that are exceeding our daily census. Which, essentially means that we need more staff to take care of the patients right now than we typically have hired for each unit,” Ascension medical director Dr. Michael Clark said.

Other Wausau medical professionals echoed that there is no other help that local hospitals can get right now to take care of COVID-19 patients, and patients with other illnesses.

“There is no Calvary coming, this pandemic is raging nationwide. We’ve requested help from nationwide staffing agencies, as well as federal resources. Yet, half of our requests have been answered as of yet,” Marshfield Clinic’s chief administration officer Ben Layman added.

Members of the D.C. Everest and Wausau school districts shared their concerns. They say that it’s up to the community to make changes.

“Right now, if people want our schools to be open, we really need you right now to follow those recommended behaviors, reduce the spread,” Wausau superintendent Dr. Keith Hilts explained.

Businesses have also seen a major drop in revenue. Will Hsu, the owner of Hsu’s Ginseng, says he has had to lay off members of his workforce because of cutbacks. Now, many of the longtime buyers for ginseng products are not shopping in Wisconsin.

“This time of year I usually have five to six buyers from Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan, staying in local hotels, eating from local bars and restaurants, and buying millions of dollars of ginseng from local growers. Today, I have zero buyers here. None of them have plans to come here anytime soon because they’re safer in their home,” Hsu said.

One of the largest concerns for the group is the upcoming holidays. Multiple people on the call mentioned their concern for traveling.

“I plead with you, I implore with you to stay home more, so we can keep our businesses and school open for our children and families,” Marathon County health officer Joan Theurer.

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