Hospital responds to video of nurse at crowded Wisconsin bar

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (WGN) — A hospital based in Illinois has responded after a video was seen of one of their nurses at a crowded Wisconsin bar after the state lifted their stay-at-home orders.

Crowds of people, most without masks, packed bars in Wisconsin hours after the state’s supreme court knocked down their stay-at-home order. Among the revelers was a nurse with ties to a health organization.

Nurse Katie Koutsky was not shy about identifying herself and her profession when a news crew was covering a story at the bar and interviewed her. Now, her employer, which is headquartered in Illinois, is responding to her actions.

Bars like Limanski’s Pub in West Allis near Milwaukee reopened Thursday, after the state supreme court overturned Gov. Tony Evers stay-at-home order.

“I have a toddler at home and I’m a full-time nurse, it’s been very stressful and hard to not be able to go out and be with my friends and family at the bars,” she said to the news crew.

Customers were seen nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, not wearing masks.
The reporter asked the nurse if she was worried.

“I don’t think the risk presents any higher than going to a grocery store,” she said.

The incident was brought up Thursday during a virtual town hall for Advocate Aurora Health — Koutsky’s employer.

Mary Beth Kingston says Advocate Aurora Health screens all employees before their shifts, and ensures they follow the appropriate safety measures on the job.

“We’ve also been working with education with our team members for what they can do to be safe once they leave our hospital walls and certainly we’ll be following up with individual nurses as needed,” Kingston said.

Advocate Aurora Health issued the following statement:

“Given the ongoing education and safety measures we are fully committed to, we’re disappointed.The health and safety of our patients, team members and our community are our highest priorities. As businesses begin to reopen, it’s important we all to continue to practice safety measures that have been effective in stemming the spread including social distancing, thorough hand washing, staying at home when sick and wearing masks in public in accordance with local government guidance.”

Sister station WGN reached out by phone to Koutsky and reached her husband, who said she had no comment on this story.

Advocate Aurora Health is based in Downers Grove and has hospitals and medical providers offices in Illinois and Wisconsin.

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