Aspirus addresses being prepared for COVID-19 and reducing the spread


IRON RIVER, Mich. (WJMN) – Aspirus Network which serves northern Wisconsin and seven U.P. counties in the western end and Copper Country says they believe they are prepared when COVID-19 will strike the area, but it takes every one’s help to flatten the curve.

“We have a group of hospitals and the thing that’s helped us there is we’re able to pool our resources,” said Dr. Ray Koivunen, VP of Medical Affairs, Aspirus Iron River Hospital.

Aspirus has been able to look at the inventory of masks, gloves, gowns, patient rooms, ventilators and non-pressure rooms of each location.

“And then that tells us what we have as a group,” said Dr. Koivunen. “So the strength is, if we’re lacking in something but Ironwood or Calumet is in better shape we can mobilize those resources, whether that’s equipment or personnel.”

Aspirus’ main hospital in Wausau, WI is dedicated one wing with 40 beds to patients just with COVID-19. So for example, if the Ironwood hospital is overwhelmed, patients can go be transferred to the Wausau facility for further treatment.

But for now, Dr. Koivunen says how you can help yourself, others, and healthcare professionals is by social distancing.

“If we’re going to treat say 1,000 patients here, if we get 900 at one time, we’re going to be overwhelmed,” said Dr. Koivunen. “If you spread that thousand over a month or two or whatever the numbers would be then we’re able to take care of those folks.”

Dr. Koivunen says it might sound silly, but it’s simple, don’t get the virus. You can do this by being safe and smart about what you do, where you go and who you distance yourself from.

“You’ve saved I don’t know how many M-95 masks because you’re not coming in,” said Dr. Koivunen. “You’re saving a test, that we didn’t have to test you because you’re not symptomatic. We potentially saved a hospital bed because you didn’t get admitted into the hospital and we probably in a number of cases saved a ventilator because you didn’t come into the hospital, get sick enough to need a ventilator.”

Aspirus says they’ve been working with other hospitals across the U.P. to all be in connection and help one another out during this time.

They also have a COVID-19 Call Center for people concerned they might be infected. It’s 1-844-568-0701. To visit Aspirus’ COVID-19 online resource center, click here.

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