A hospital in northeast Wisconsin is considering suspending voting as health officials grapple with rising coronavirus cases and double-digit positivity rates.
Dr. Paul Casey, emergency room director for Bellin Health Systems in Green Bay, Wisconsin, told CNBC's Shepard Smith Thursday that hospital beds have been full or nearly full for the past week, putting a strain on both staff and operations.
"We are facing a crisis in Green Bay and our surrounding counties," Casey said in an appearance on The News with Shepard Smith.
The state of Midwest set a new daily record of 3,132 new Covid-19 cases, surpassing the previous record set just days earlier, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health. With the exception of the northwest region, Covid-19 hospital stays were in double digits across the state between late September and early October.
According to the state Department of Health's website, more than 80% of the capacity of hospitals and intensive care units in Wisconsin is occupied. Casey expects the approvals to be "overloaded" in the coming weeks.
Another burden on patient care is the fact that up to 200 health workers are sick, he added, fighting the virus, which has now infected nearly 7.6 million people and caused more than 212,000 deaths in the United States according to the Johns Hopkins University.
"We're seeing a shockingly rising trend in Covid positivity rates over 20% in our community," Casey said.
Bellin Hospital, which specializes in cardiovascular services, among other things, may be forced to cut back on the procedures it can provide to patients in order to preserve resources to combat the ongoing health crisis. The health facility ceased elective operations in the spring.
"If the rise continues and doesn't subside, we'll have to cancel the elections again. We haven't done that yet, but it's close," said Casey.
The surge in cases can be attributed to "Covid fatigue", people refusing to wear masks and small gatherings, he said. Individuals are trying to get their lives back on their feet, but states across the country have addressed spikes in some cases as they reopened their economies after state governments imposed severe lockdowns on the To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The timing of the surge in Wisconsin, a critical battlefield state in the presidential election, comes when the public counts down the days to November election day and the holiday season.