More than 200 doctors in Brown County are asking elected officials and residents there to work to contain the coronavirus as cases continue to rise and overwhelm local hospitals.
Dr. Ashok Rai, president and chief operating Officer of Prevea Health, said physicians on the front lines facing COVID-19 are "deeply troubled" by the surge of cases in the Fox Valley region.
"To say that providing care to these patients is severely straining our local hospitals, health care workers and health systems is a drastic understatement," Rai wrote in a letter dated Oct. 2. "There is no other way to say it: we are overwhelmed."
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have tripled in the Green Bay region since the beginning of September.
"After 6 months of fighting this pandemic, we know what works to curb the spread of this virus and what will lessen the burden of COVID-19 in our community," Rai wrote, then listing six things the community can do to prevent the spread, including wearing a mask, social distancing and staying home.
"The ongoing reckless disregard of these basic public health measures is threatening the viability of our local businesses, education of our children, and provision of medical care to everyone in Northeast Wisconsin," Rai said.
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As of Sunday, there were 10,453 confirmed cases in Brown County and 69 deaths, according to the state. Per capita, Brown County has the most cases in the state with 4,015 per 100,000 people infected. By comparison, the state average is 2,294 cases per 100,000. Milwaukee County's case per 100,000 is 3,210, according to the state.
The Brown County doctors join physicians across the state who are pleading with people to follow health guidelines to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
The number of people hospitalized from COVID-19 has grown by 47 percent in the past two weeks, according to data from the state Department of Health Services.
UW Health director of infection control Dr. Nasia Safdar said the Madison area is also "perilously close" to surpassing its highest hospitalization numbers during a press conference Friday with other Madison-area hospitals and Public Health Madison and Dane County.
On Sunday, the state reported 1,865 new coronavirus cases, bringing the seven-day average of new cases to 2,240.
Meanwhile, a conservative legal group, The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, is asking a judge to immediately repeal the state-wide mask mandate.