MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – For the fifth day in a row, Wisconsin health officials report more than 2,000 people testing positive for the coronavirus.
According to Saturday’s report, 14,084 tests came back and 2,892 were positive, or 20.53%. Wisconsin is averaging 2,450 cases a day for the past 7 days. A total 130,798 people in Wisconsin have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 throughout the past 8 months.
The 7-day average percentage of positive tests, known as the positivity rate, is up to 21.71%. The 14-day average set a new high Saturday of 19.58%.
Health officials say the death toll rose by 19 to 1,372.
The death rate for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 fell to 1.05%.
County-by-county case numbers will be listed below.
DHS reports 24,035 currently active cases, meaning 18.4% of all cases over the past 8 months were diagnosed within the last 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. There are 105,373 people who are considered recovered, which is 80.6% of all cases. For comparison, one month ago 9.5% of all known cases were active and 89% were recovered.
In the past 24 hours there were 82 more hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients. The 7-day average is up to almost 78 people hospitalized each day. The number of all people diagnosed with the coronavirus requiring hospitalization is up to 7,588. The hospitalization rate is 5.8% of diagnosed cases.
As of Friday, the DHS report says the state’s 134 hospitals currently have 663 COVID-19 patients with 181 in intensive care — 27 fewer in ICU than Thursday. The Wisconsin Hospital Association says 15.5% of ICU beds and 18% (new figure) of all hospital beds in the state are available. On Friday the DHS reported the 8-county Fox Valley Region had 115 COVID-19 patients, 10 in ICU, with 14% of medical beds available. The Northeast Region also has 110 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, 41 in ICU, with 23% of beds available.
Action 2 News will continue to check back for new hospital numbers on Saturday and update this story.
Daily hospitalization numbers take deaths and hospital discharges into account.
Viewers have asked us how the state compiles its numbers. The state only counts a person once in its summary of positive and negative tests, no matter how many times a person might be tested. The DHS reports deaths attributed to COVID-19 or in which COVID-19 contributed to their death. Most of the people severely affected by the coronavirus have underlying illnesses or conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity, which sadly affects their chances of dying from COVID-19. The state may revise case and death numbers after further review, such as the victim’s residence, duplicated records, or a correction in lab results. Details can be found on the DHS website and Frequently Asked Questions.
Health Departments Overwhelmed
The De Pere and Oneida Nation Health Departments, as well as the Brown County Health and Human Services Department, issued a joint Public Health Emergency COVID-19 alert Saturday, citing very high levels of COVID-19 cases resulting in increased COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.
This comes after public health departments in the Fox Valley declared an emergency alert Friday, saying they’re so inundated with new cases they can’t notify people who test positive in a timely manner — much less their close contacts. Manitowoc and Door county health departments this week announced made similar announcements this week.
State health officials say with local health departments overwhelmed, it’s going to be harder to identify the source of outbreaks. People who test positive are advised to reach out themselves to people who had close contact and ask them to quarantine until the 14th day from their last contact.
Guidance for local health departments
This week, the DHS released a document local health departments can use for guidance to slow the spread of the virus. You can read the document HERE.
For counties with Very High case activity — which is a majority of counties in Northeastern Wisconsin — the recommendations read very much like the Safer-at-Home order early in the pandemic:
- Consider closing indoor and outdoor bars
- Restaurants should consider only takeout, pickup or delivery
- No indoor gatherings beyond members of the household and limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer with social distancing and face coverings
- Only essential workers in offices and workplaces with monitoring of symptoms, physical distance and masks
- Limit retail to 5 customers at a time and consider curbside pickup or mail delivery
- Consider not holding outdoor concerts, festivals or sporting events
- Consider not opening gyms or campgrounds except with minimum operations.
Health experts say face masks are still the most effective way the general public can slow the spread of the coronavirus, but only if the masks are worn appropriately — over the nose and chin. County and state health officials are reminding and urging people to stay home when they feel sick, avoid large gatherings, and distance yourself six feet from people who aren’t from your household.
To help people understand how their decisions affect their own health and others, the Department of Health Services has a decision tool at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/decision.htm. The tool describes how choices matter and offers suggestions to make activities safer.
New web tools show county, hospital burdens
The Department of Health Services debuted two more online tools Wednesday to help people understand the spread of the COVID-19 virus in their county and how it’s affecting hospitals. “This data is increasingly important for us and local decision makers as this pandemic gets increasingly critical,” DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told Action 2 News Wednesday.
A display of disease activity indicates whether counties are experiencing a low to very high spread of the virus based on new cases per capita and also indicates how many counties at each level are continuing to see a rise in cases or are starting to see cases wane. A look at hospital capacity offers a graphical look at daily hospitalizations for COVID-19 and what percent of beds (including ICU beds) and ventilators are available. The state updates these charts every Wednesday by 4 P.M.
Disease activity by county: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/disease.htm
Hospital capacity: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/capacity.htm
The state also improved its charts to display 7-day averages for the percent of tests coming back positive, including a chart that includes people tested more than once. The DHS will continue only reporting results for a person once in its summary data, which is the information Action 2 News relies on for its reports each day and is the most widely accepted method for reporting results, including by the CDC.
And the state is further breaking down case numbers among youth, so schools and parents can get a better idea of how the coronavirus is spreading among, say, preschool vs. elementary vs. high school ages.
County by county cases will be added here shortly.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these as possible symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- The coronavirus is a new, or “novel,” virus. Nobody has a natural immunity to it. Children and teens seem to recover best from the virus. Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the CDC. Precautions are also needed around people with developing or weakened immune systems.
- To help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Stay at least six feet away from other people
- Avoid close contact with people who are or appear sick
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates and nonessential appointments
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
- Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask. At a minimum, use a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
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