Gundersen committed to providing community care

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Gundersen Health System’s chief executive officer says if the number of patients with COVID-19 grows, they will have the expertise to provide care.

Dr. Scott Rathgaber says that expertise, however, will come from other parts of the hospital. And that will affect their ability to care for other patients with less urgent needs.

“So it’s a balance between the people who have the COVID infection and all of the other people who also have diseases that have to be cared for,” says Rathgaber.

Increasing care for one side means a decrease for others.

Rathgaber has more encouraging news.

During an earlier conversation with Gundersen’s chief operating officer, we learned that more than 500 health care workers were not at work because of illness or exposure to the virus.

That situation has improved.

“We’ve seen those numbers be less than 200 now,” says Rathgaber.

Still, he’s concerned about travel and gathering for the holiday, asking everyone to be careful about choices.

And he says, we still have an ability to reduce infection rates by wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, washing hands and staying home if you’re ill.

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