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BELOIT

The number of people hospitalized in Rock County with COVID-19 has been at or below 10 for about two months, including no patient admissions at Beloit Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 unit in six weeks, an encouraging sign that the region, state and nation might be turning the corner in the long struggle against the pandemic.

Tim McKevett, president and CEO of Beloit Health System, said a COVID-19 unit with no severely ill COVID-19 patients is one of several good signs he and other officials in the health care field are observing lately.

“The news is very encouraging,” he said.

The reduction in COVID-19 admissions is being seen throughout Rock County and the state. In Rock County, there were only four COVID-19 hospital admissions as of Wednesday, according to the latest data from the Rock County Health Department. In Beloit, COVID-19 unit admissions were at their peak in the fall of 2020 and December 2021.

There have been patients who have been admitted to Beloit Memorial Hospital who tested positive for COVID-19, McKevett said, but it was not the primary reason they were admitted. As an example of such a situation, he said a patient might have been admitted for a surgical procedure and as part of the pre-admission process, the patient tested positive for COVID-19. In such cases, the patients have been asymptomatic.

The hospital still encourages mitigation practices such as frequent washing of hands, and mask wearing still is required for visitors and staff at the hospital.

There have been spikes in COVID-19 cases periodically in the area.

“They seem to increase after a holiday or after a nice spring day—whenever you would expect large groups of people to get together,” he said, noting that the cases quickly go down again.

McKevett noted that 100% of the Beloit Health System staff now are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Also, all the latest medications and treatments to battle COVID-19 or lessen the severity of its symptoms are available in the Beloit area.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Beloit Health System staff have administered more than 36,000 COVID-19 vaccinations and processed more than 54,000 COVID-19 tests.

Beloit Health System now is offering a second booster (or fourth COVID-19 shot) to those over the age of 50 or those who are immunocompromised. The shots are administered at the Beloit Clinic. People can schedule an appointment for a booster shot by calling 608-364-5663 Monday through Friday.

Now that it seems the pandemic has eased, McKevett said it is fitting that the staff at Beloit Health System take a bit of a break.

“The incredible teamwork demonstrated by the medical staff and non-medical staff is humbling,” he said. “It has been a hard 2½ years.”

Now, the health system is turning its focus on supporting the health care team that worked long hours and faced great personal health risks during the pandemic.

“We want do address any burnout the pandemic may have caused. We want to reenergize the team moving forward,” McKevett said. “If there is a positive that has come from this experience, it is that it taught us to appreciate our community and our staff.”

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