WHA: Wisconsin hospital and health system physician leaders issue joint COVID-19 safety message

The following important COVID-19 safety message is made on behalf of Chief Medical Officers of Wisconsin Health Systems and Hospitals.

Wisconsin patients and families trust their physicians to diagnose and treat illnesses. Now, as COVID-19 spreads uncontrollably throughout Wisconsin, we are asking you to heed our advice again by taking this disease very seriously and adopting simple precautions to stop its spread in your community.

As COVID-19 infections rise at alarming rates in Wisconsin, so too are its damaging effects on our local businesses, our healthcare systems and thousands of our friends, neighbors and loved ones. COVID-19 is an insidious disease that can easily sicken friends and family by a single carrier showing no symptoms. It is now rapidly spreading throughout all Wisconsin communities, urban and rural. 

While COVID leaves many unscathed, it has also left thousands of others isolated and seriously ill. It has now taken the lives of more than 2,700 people in Wisconsin – grandparents, parents, sons, daughters, and many others. While most read about COVID-19 in the newspaper or see it on TV, more are coming to know its pain and devastation first-hand. As Wisconsin physician leaders, we see the growing toll this disease is taking on our health care system, straining hospital capacity and stressing our nurses, doctors and others – those “health care heroes” we are all grateful for, but who now need your help to stem the surge of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals and clinics.

For a disease with such serious and harmful consequences, there are simple things we can all do to turn this around.  

  • Keep a distance of six feet or greater from people outside your household.
  • Wear a mask when outside your home and around other people.
  • Avoid gatherings, especially where physical distancing and masking are not strictly practiced.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Get your seasonal flu shot as soon as possible.

At Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems, we are doing all we can to treat those who do get sick. However, we can’t prevent you, your family and friends from getting sick and needing medical care. That’s up to each of us individually and all of us collectively. Together, with simple, temporary steps, we can get this dangerous virus under control and get back to normal.

Mark Kaufman, MDChief Medical OfficerWisconsin Hospital Association  Gary Stuck, DO, FAAFPChief Medical OfficerAdvocate Aurora Health  Ryan Else, MDVice President of Medical AffairsAllina Health System 
Greg Brusko, DO, MMM, FACOSChief Clinical OfficerAscension Wisconsin  Ryan Andrews, MDChief Medical OfficerAspirus Wausau Hospital  Brian Johnson, MD, FACPChief Medical OfficerAurora BayCare Medical Center 
Cynthia Lasecki, MD, FAAFPChief Medical OfficerBellin Health System  Roger Kapoor, MDSenior Vice President and CMOBeloit Health System  Esteban Miller, MDHospitalist/Chief Medical OfficerBlack River Memorial Hospital, Inc. 
Michael Gutzeit, MDChief Medical OfficerChildren’s Wisconsin – Milwaukee Hospital  James Heise, MD, MBAChief Medical OfficerDoor County Medical Center  Jonathon D. Truwit, MDEnterprise CMO and Sr. Admin. DeanFroedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin – Froedtert Hospital 
Robyn Borge, MDChief of Medical/Clinical StaffGundersen Health System  Andrew Dorwart, MDSenior Medical DirectorHealthPartners St. Croix Valley Hospitals  Edgar (Ted) K. Collison, MDChief Physician ExecutiveHospital Sisters Health System – Wisconsin Division 
William Melms, MDChief Medical OfficerMarshfield Clinic Health System  Robert Peck, MDVice Chair of Regional PracticeMayo Clinic Health System –Eau Claire  Joseph Krien, MDRegional Chair of PracticeMayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse 
Tim Bjelland, DOChief Medical OfficerMile Bluff Medical Center  Robert Gouthro, MDChief Medical OfficerNorth Central Health Care  Rene B. Milner, MDChief Medical OfficerOsceola Medical Center 
Elizabeth Baker, DPMChief Medical OfficerReedsburg Area Medical Center  Christine Richards, MDChief of StaffRichland Hospital  Jerry Halverson, MD, FACPsych, DFAPAChief Medical OfficerRogers Behavioral Health 
Mark Van Etten, MDMedical DirectorSpooner Health  Mark Thompson, MDPresident – SSM Health Wisconsin Medical GroupsSSM Health  Aaron Schwaab, MD, FACSGeneral Surgeon and Chief Medical OfficerStoughton Hospital Association 
Jennifer Frank, MD, FAAFPVP and CMO, Clinical Integrated NetworkThedaCare  Pam Wetzel, MD, MBAChief Medical OfficerUnityPoint Health Meriter  Charles Pearce, MDVice President of Medical AffairsUpland Hills Health, Inc. 
Aimee Becker, MD, MBAChief Medical OfficerUW Health Jeffrey Lawrence, MDOrthopaedic Surgeon/Chief of StaffVernon Memorial Healthcare