ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Appleton.
ThedaCare Regional Medical Center in Appleton

APPLETON — Because of the recent rise in COVID-19 patients, along with staffing shortages, ThedaCare will defer non-urgent elective surgeries at all seven of its hospitals beginning today.

Care teams are working directly with patients to change appointments as needed. Those patients can expect a phone call from provider teams about changes to appointments and care plans.   

“Our current model predicts COVID-19 cases will continue to rise for the next two to three weeks as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spreads rapidly in Northeast and Central Wisconsin,” said Lynn Detterman, Senior Vice President of the ThedaCare South Region in a news release.

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Throughout the ThedaCare system, there are nearly 95 COVID patients admitted as of January 17, 2022, which is more than any other time during the pandemic.

Nearly 80 percent of COVID patients who have been hospitalized or in the ICU at ThedaCare during the pandemic were unvaccinated, according to the hospital.  

That mirrors state numbers released last week, showing non-vaccinated patients are 10 times more likely to end up in the hospital.

“In addition to seeing a record number of COVID patients in our system, as well as continued demand for non-COVID services, we are also experiencing some of the highest absent rates of team members due to illness or exposure to the coronavirus,” Detterman said. “At any time in health care, it is not just about the number of beds a hospital system can create, or how many of those beds are open. The most important resource of capacity is caregivers. And we need our team members healthy and well to care for our patients.”  

All urgent surgeries, and those that are performed on an outpatient basis, will continue at this time. Surgery teams and providers are evaluating procedures on a case-by-case basis, working with patients whose surgeries can safely be deferred a few weeks.  



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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.