EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - As cases rise in the area, so have hospitalizations, striking even more of a strain on our healthcare system, and causing one hospital to take drastic measures to keep up with the surge.
An influx of COVID-19 patients recently forced Mayo Clinic's Eau Claire hospital to place four emergency beds in an ambulance garage. All four beds were filled on Nov. 18 when they were first installed, but since then have not been used.
Mayo officials say although patients could be placed in a different space, employees have all the equipment necessary to provide patients with the proper care.
"We would never put them in any unsafe or unclean environment," said Pam White, chief nursing officer for Mayo Clinic Health System Northwestern Region. "It's very clean, it's warm, it's an environment that's not ideal and we wouldn't do this every day, but if you needed to be in there to receive the care, I would absolutely go there. It's a comfortable environment and temporary."
Mayo also recently set up separated booths in lobbies to prevent patients from grouping while waiting for help, and they also allow nurses to triage patients quickly in a safe space. White says the hospital is already planning on a second level of surge protocols in case beds are needed in other spaces around the facility.