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Wisconsin activates field hospital as COVID cases surge

Hospitalizations have been rising across the state as cases of COVID-19 increase.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Aug. 27, 2020, file photo, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers speaks during a news conference in Kenosha, Wis. Wisconsin health officials and Gov. Evers announced Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, that they've opened a field hospital at the state fairgrounds near Milwaukee as a surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals. Wisconsin has become a hot spot for the disease over the last month, ranking third nationwide this week in daily new cases per capita. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin's governor has announced the opening of a field hospital at the state fairgrounds as a surge in COVID-19 cases threatens to overwhelm hospitals across the state. 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) only 16% of the state's 11,452 hospital beds are available as of Tuesday afternoon. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has grown to 853, with 216 of them in intensive care. 

Results of COVID-19 tests on an additional 262 in-patients are pending. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously built a 530-bed field hospital on the state fairgrounds in West Allis in April, but hospitalizations hadn't increased so much that it needed to open until now.