Nearly 7,500 tests positive for coronavirus; COVID-19 deaths down slightly

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin shattered the record for new coronavirus cases again with almost 7,500 positive tests (7,497) in the 24-hour period ending Thursday. Fifty-eight deaths were added to the state’s COVID-19 death toll, which is a slightly lower figure than the past two days.

The state received a record 22,408 test results and 14,991 of these were negative, which helped tamp down the positivity rate — which was above 40% on Wednesday — to 33.46% on Thursday. That’s far above the 5% health experts want to see to consider the spread of the virus getting under control. Even looking at all test results, counting people tested multiple times,

Wisconsin is nearing 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases since the first case in February and has had more than 2,500 casualties since the first COVID-19 deaths in March.

Wisconsin passed 200,000 cases on October 26, barely two-and-a-half weeks ago; it passed 2,000 deaths 13 days ago.

Deaths were reported in Barron (12), Brown, Calumet (2), Chippewa (2), Crawford (3), Dane, Dodge (2), Fond du Lac (2), Jefferson, Kenosha (2), La Crosse, Manitowoc (6), Marathon (4), Milwaukee (4), Outagamie, Ozaukee, Portage (2), Rock, Shawano, Vilas, Washington, Waukesha (3), Waupaca and Winnebago (5) counties. Death counts were revised downward in Eau Claire and Lincoln counties. After the state’s report came out, the Winnebago County Health Department announced 8 more COVID-19 related deaths, and the Appleton Health Department reported the death of a person in their 80s in Outagamie County.

The state reports 66,873 cases are still active, meaning they were diagnosed in the last 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. That’s 22.8% of cases of all time, up from 22.7% Wednesday. There are more than 223,937 people (76.3% of cases) who are past that 30-day mark and are considered recovered.

The death rate remained steady at 0.86% of all known coronavirus cases, with 2,515 COVID-19 patients now dead.

Wisconsin is now averaging more than 6,209 new cases per day — the first time the 7-day average was above 6,000 — and 46 deaths per day, a new high.

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. The state’s 2,515 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) — and will soon pass the number of stroke deaths two years ago. Keep in mind, the mortality data is based on 12 months; 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 2,515
6 Alzheimer disease 2,453
7 Diabetes 1,508
8 Influenza/pneumonia 1,075
9 Kidney disease 914
10 Suicide 888

Another 264 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since Wednesday’s report. That brings the total to date to 13,771 people hospitalized since February 5. That’s 4.7% of all cases, a percentage that’s held steady.

Wednesday, which is the latest report available, there were a record 2,102 COVID-19 patients in the state’s 134 hospitals, including a record 441 in ICU, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA). Regional hospital cases are reported later in this article.

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

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there are 121 ICU beds open among the state’s 134 hospitals, or 8.2% of ICU beds. Counting ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation, there are 1,136 beds open, or 10% of licensed beds.

The Fox Valley region has 13 hospitals serving 8 counties. There are 134 COVID-19 patients, 18 in ICU. The hospitals have 13 ICU beds open, or 12.5%, and 72 open beds total, which is 8.4%.

The Northeast region has 10 hospitals among 7 counties. There are 8 ICU beds open, or 3.9%, and a total 114 beds open, or 11.9%.

Daily changes in hospitalization figures take deaths and hospital discharges into account.

Nearly all the hospitals in the state report they have more than a week’s worth of N95 masks, paper medical masks, gowns and goggles.

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

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 785 cases (+24) (6 deaths)
  • Ashland – 458 cases (+18) (5 deaths)
  • Barron – 2,128 cases (+75) (28 deaths) (+12)
  • Bayfield – 467 cases (+28) (3 deaths)
  • Brown – 19,166 cases (+340) (118 deaths) (+1)
  • Buffalo – 507 cases (+19) (3 deaths)
  • Burnett – 473 cases (+23) (7 deaths)
  • Calumet – 3,3283 cases (+58) (20 deaths) (+2)
  • Chippewa – 3,223 cases (+137) (35 deaths) (+2)
  • Clark – 1,488 cases (+49) (23 deaths)
  • Columbia – 2,527 cases (+50) (9 deaths)
  • Crawford – 590 cases (+24) (4 deaths) (+3)
  • Dane – 20,590 cases (+634) (57 deaths) (+1)
  • Dodge – 6,163 cases (+157) (51 deaths) (+2)
  • Door – 1,288 cases (+22) (10 deaths)
  • Douglas – 1,176 cases (+32) (1 death)
  • Dunn – 1,768 cases (+33) (1 death)
  • Eau Claire – 5,475 cases (+183) (34 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Florence – 266 cases (cases revised -2 by state) (10 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 6,695 cases (+130) (31 deaths) (+2)
  • Forest – 619 cases (+6) (11 deaths)
  • Grant – 2,699 cases (+79) (50 deaths)
  • Green – 1,302 cases (+38) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake – 992 cases (+15) (4 deaths)
  • Iowa – 892 cases (+40) (4 deaths)
  • Iron – 282 cases (+1) (5 deaths)
  • Jackson – 1,027 cases (+55) (2 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 3,947 cases (+40) (29 deaths) (+1)
  • Juneau – 1,405 cases (+1) (6 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 7,140 cases (+218) (102 deaths) (+2)
  • Kewaunee – 1,364 cases (+21) (12 deaths) (+1)
  • La Crosse – 6,018 cases (+185) (28 deaths) (+1)
  • Lafayette – 824 cases (+41) (2 deaths)
  • Langlade – 1,307 cases (+31) (19 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 1,392 cases (+26) (13 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Manitowoc – 3,864 cases (+87) (27 deaths) (+6)
  • Marathon – 7,534 cases (+211) (91 deaths) (+4)
  • Marinette – 2,358 cases (+74) (20 deaths)
  • Marquette – 881 cases (+15) (7 deaths)
  • Menominee – 437 cases (+3) (2 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 53,129 (+1,040) (636 deaths) (+4)
  • Monroe – 1,752 cases (+77) (8 deaths)
  • Oconto – 2,666 cases (+25) (20 deaths)
  • Oneida – 1,698 cases (+14) (19 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 11,659 cases (+169) (91 deaths) (+1)
  • Ozaukee – 3,513 cases (+110) (29 deaths) (+1)
  • Pepin – 300 cases (+11) (1 death)
  • Pierce – 1,278 cases (+47) (7 deaths)
  • Polk – 1,293 cases (+151) (4 deaths)
  • Portage – 3,738 cases (+63) (30 deaths) (+2)
  • Price – 532 cases (+13) (3 deaths)
  • Racine – 10,658 cases (+277) (128 deaths)
  • Richland – 662 cases (+12) (10 deaths)
  • Rock – 7,114 cases (+154) (58 deaths) (+1)
  • Rusk – 499 cases (+46) (5 deaths)
  • Sauk – 2,753 cases (+111) (10 deaths)
  • Sawyer – 575 cases (+20) (5 deaths)
  • Shawano – 3,146 cases (+61) (40 deaths) (+1)
  • Sheboygan – 6,850 cases (+228) (41 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 3,031 cases (+88) (16 deaths)
  • Taylor – 765 cases (+17) (10 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 1,574 cases (+60) (7 deaths)
  • Vernon – 762 cases (+26) (4 deaths)
  • Vilas – 898 cases (+16) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Walworth – 4,522 cases (+112) (40 deaths)
  • Washburn – 382 cases (+15) (2 deaths)
  • Washington – 6,431 cases (+101) (54 deaths) (+1)
  • Waukesha – 17,509 cases (+556) (157 deaths) (+3)
  • Waupaca – 3,168 cases (+51) (64 deaths) (+1)
  • Waushara – 1,541 cases (+21) (6 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 11,284 cases (+397) (90 deaths) (+5)
  • Wood – 2,808 cases (+92) (16 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula**

  • Alger – 120 cases (+5) (1 death)
  • Baraga – 255 cases (+37) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa – 191 cases (+10)
  • Delta – 1,704 cases (+91) (44 deaths) (+1)
  • Dickinson – 1,103 cases (+1) (26 deaths)
  • Gogebic – 447 cases (+20) (9 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,012 cases (+55) (8 deaths)
  • Iron – 554 cases (+6) (25 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 31 cases (+3) (1 death)
  • Luce – 88 cases (+3)
  • Mackinac – 164 cases (+5)
  • Marquette – 1,745 cases (+87) (20 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee – 923 cases (+28) (10 deaths) (+1)
  • Ontonagon – 203 cases (+3) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Schoolcraft – 135 cases (+5)

* 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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