More than 7,000 cases for 2nd day in a row

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wednesday marks 40 weeks since the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 virus in Wisconsin. So far, 285,891 people have tested positive for the coronavirus while almost 2 million tests (1,949,868) came back negative.

Wednesday, Wisconsin added more than 7,000 new cases for a second day in a row and for the third time in a week as cases, deaths and hospitalizations remained near record highs.

The Department of Health Services reports 7,048 of the 17,472 tests were positive. That was 25 fewer positive tests than Tuesday’s record but the positivity rate was higher, over 40% (40.34%), because it’s based on 2,500 fewer test results than Tuesday (19,999 tests). Health experts need to see a positivity rate below 5% to consider the virus getting under control.

Sixty-two people were added to the death toll. The state’s 2,457 COVID-19 deaths compares to the 6th leading cause of death in Wisconsin — responsible for more deaths than diabetes, the flu and pneumonia, kidney disease and self-harm (see chart).

Pepin County, the last county not to have a COVID-19 death, reported its first death in the last 24 hours. Deaths were also reported in Brown (2), Chippewa (2), Dodge (3), Florence (2), Fond du Lac (2), Grant (3), Jefferson, Kenosha (4), Kewaunee, Marathon (5), Marquette, Milwaukee (2), Outagamie (3), Ozaukee, Polk, Rock (2), Rusk (2), Sauk, Sawyer, Sheboygan (6), St. Croix, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha (6), Waupaca (4), and Winnebago.

County case numbers are listed later in this article.

The state is currently averaging 5,984 new cases and 43 deaths a day looking back over the past 7 days. The death rate held steady at 0.86% of all known coronavirus cases.

For comparison we’ve inserted COVID-19′s death toll into the leading causes of death in Wisconsin in 2018, the latest rankings available from the CDC. COVID-19 compares to the 6th leading cause of death in our state — and at this pace will soon pass the number of stroke deaths two years ago. Keep in mind, the mortality data is from an entire year; the first COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin were reported less than 8 months ago, on March 19.

Rank Leading causes of death in Wisconsin (2018) Deaths
1 Heart disease 12,061
2 Cancer 11,457
3 Accidents 3,786
4 Chronic lower respiratory diseases 2,866
5 Stroke 2,549
COVID-19 2,457
6 Alzheimer disease 2,453
7 Diabetes 1,508
8 Influenza/pneumonia 1,075
9 Kidney disease 914
10 Suicide 888

The state reports 277 more people were hospitalized for serious COVID-19 symptoms. To date, 13,507 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, or 4.7% of all cases.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported 2,070 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Tuesday afternoon, with 418 in intensive care. Both figures were new records.

More than 64,000 people (64,067) in Wisconsin are considered active cases — or more than 1 in 5 people ever diagnosed with the virus in Wisconsin in the past 40 weeks. More than 219,000 people (219,304) are considered recovered, meaning it’s been 30 days since their positive test or onset of symptoms or they were medically cleared.

Gov. Tony Evers issued a new safer-at-home executive order Tuesday evening. Unlike the safer-at-home order in the spring, which was knocked down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, this order doesn’t apply to businesses except in urging the public to stay home as much as possible; avoid unnecessary errands or travel; and utilize drive-thru, curbside pick-up and delivery options as much as possible (read details here).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines encouraging face masks even more after determining they do have some effect protecting the wearer from the COVID-19 virus, not just protecting others if a wearer is a symptomatic or asymptomatic carrier. The CDC says a number of studies show wearing masks reduced sharing the virus as much as 70 percent (see related story). Of course, masks must be worn properly (e.g., over the nose) to work.

HOSPITAL READINESS

The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported Tuesday show 8.7% of the state’s ICU beds are open. That’s 128 out of 1,469 beds. Overall, 9.9% of the state’s hospital beds are open for ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation.

The Fox Valley region, with 13 hospitals serving 8 counties, has 16 open ICU beds (15.4%) and 74 open beds (8.7%). The hospitals are treating 129 COVID-19 patients, including 16 in intensive care.

The Northeast region, with 10 hospitals serving 7 counties, has 15 ICU beds opens (7.2%) and 132 open beds overall (13.8%). Those hospitals have 200 COVID-19 hospitals, with 50 of them in ICU.

We’ll get updated numbers later Wednesday afternoon. Daily changes in hospitalization figures take deaths and hospital discharges into account.

Twenty-six hospitals reported Tuesday they have less than 7 days’ worth of gowns and 15 report being low on paper medical masks.

WEDNESDAY’S COUNTY CASE NUMBERS (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold)*

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 761 cases (+10) (6 deaths)
  • Ashland – 440 cases (+11) (5 deaths)
  • Barron – 2,053 cases (+62) (14 deaths)
  • Bayfield – 439 cases (+8) (3 deaths)
  • Brown – 18,826 cases (+583) (117 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo – 488 cases (+22) (3 deaths)
  • Burnett – 450 cases (+16) (7 deaths)
  • Calumet – 3,325 cases (+52) (18 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 3,086 cases (+102) (33 deaths) (+2)
  • Clark –1,439 cases (+74) (23 deaths)
  • Columbia – 2,477 cases (+73) (9 deaths)
  • Crawford – 566 cases (+25) (1 death)
  • Dane – 19,956 cases (+462) (56 deaths)
  • Dodge – 6,006 cases (+72) (49 deaths) (+3)
  • Door – 1,266 cases (+36) (10 deaths)
  • Douglas – 1,144 cases (+47) (1 death)
  • Dunn – 1,735 cases (+74) (1 death)
  • Eau Claire – 5,292 cases (+69) (35 deaths)
  • Florence – 266 cases (+8) (10 deaths) (+2)
  • Fond du Lac – 6,565 cases (+132) (29 deaths) (+2)
  • Forest – 613 cases (+14) (11 deaths)
  • Grant – 2,620 cases (+108) (50 deaths) (+3)
  • Green – 1,264 cases (+17) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake – 977 cases (+24) (4 deaths)
  • Iowa – 852 cases (+48) (4 deaths)
  • Iron – 281 cases (+7) (5 deaths)
  • Jackson – 972 cases (+41) (2 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 3,830 cases (+115) (28 deaths) (+1)
  • Juneau – 1,386 cases (+29) (6 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 6,922 cases (+216) (100 deaths) (+4)
  • Kewaunee – 1,343 cases (+10) (12 deaths) (+1)
  • La Crosse – 5,833 cases (+207) (27 deaths)
  • Lafayette – 783 cases (+38) (2 deaths)
  • Langlade – 1,276 cases (+24) (19 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 1,366 cases (+30) (14 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 3,777 cases (+103) (21 deaths)
  • Marathon – 7,323 cases (+227) (87 deaths) (+5)
  • Marinette – 2,284 cases (+42) (20 deaths)
  • Marquette – 866 cases (+10) (7 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee – 434 cases (+7) (2 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 52,089 (+980) (632 deaths) (+2)
  • Monroe – 1,675 cases (+43) (8 deaths)
  • Oconto – 2,641 cases (+42) (20 deaths)
  • Oneida – 1,684 cases (+37) (19 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 11,490 cases (+158) (90 deaths) (+3)
  • Ozaukee – 3,403 cases (+143) (28 deaths) (+1)
  • Pepin – 289 cases (+20) (1 death) (+1)
  • Pierce – 1,231 cases (+43) (7 deaths)
  • Polk – 1,142 cases (+83) (4 deaths) (+1)
  • Portage – 3,675 cases (+63) (28 deaths)
  • Price – 519 cases (+13) (3 deaths)
  • Racine – 10,381 cases (+256) (128 deaths)
  • Richland – 650 cases (+22) (10 deaths)
  • Rock – 6,960 cases (+148) (57 deaths) (+2)
  • Rusk – 453 cases (+40) (5 deaths) (+2)
  • Sauk – 2,642 cases (+38) (10 deaths) (+1)
  • Sawyer – 555 cases (+25) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Shawano – 3,085 cases (+34) (39 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 6,622 cases (+286) (41 deaths) (+6)
  • St. Croix – 2,943 cases (+124) (16 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor – 748 cases (+22) (10 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 1,514 cases (+73) (7 deaths)
  • Vernon – 736 cases (+25) (4 deaths) (+1)
  • Vilas – 882 cases (+35) (8 deaths)
  • Walworth – 4,410 cases (+72) (40 deaths) (+1)
  • Washburn – 367 cases (+11) (2 deaths)
  • Washington – 6,330 cases (+182) (53 deaths) (+1)
  • Waukesha – 16,953 cases (+517) (154 deaths) (+6)
  • Waupaca – 3,117 cases (+54) (63 deaths) (+4)
  • Waushara – 1,520 cases (+12) (6 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 10,887 cases (+117) (85 deaths) (+2)
  • Wood – 2,716 cases (+54) (16 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula**

  • Alger – 115 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Baraga – 218 cases (+29) (4 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 181 cases (+6)
  • Delta – 1,613 cases (+17) (43 deaths) (+1)
  • Dickinson – 1,102 cases (+71) (26 deaths) (+1)
  • Gogebic – 427 cases (+6) (9 deaths) (+2)
  • Houghton – 957 cases (+5) (8 deaths)
  • Iron – 549 cases (+8) (25 deaths) (+1)
  • Keweenaw – 28 cases (1 death)
  • Luce – 85 cases (+2)
  • Mackinac – 159 cases (+7)
  • Marquette – 1,658 cases (+46) (19 deaths)
  • Menominee – 895 cases (+20) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Ontonagon – 200 cases (+5) (4 deaths) (+2)
  • Schoolcraft – 130 cases (+3)

* Viewers have asked us why the state has different numbers than what’s reported on some county health department websites. The DHS reports cases from all health departments within a county’s boundaries, including tribal, municipal and county health departments; county websites may not. Also, public health departments update their data at various times whereas the DHS freezes the numbers it receives by the same time every day to compile the afternoon report.

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 raises a person’s risk of dying from COVID-19 but would’ve lived longer if not for their infection. 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.

**The state of Michigan does not update numbers on Sundays.

Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these as possible symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Prevention

  • 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.

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.

Copyright 2020 WBAY. All rights reserved.


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