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New coronavirus cases and hospitalizations 2nd-highest on record

The state received almost 2,400 positive results while 76 more people were hospitalized
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 2:09 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2020 at 5:25 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin nearly set records for new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations on Thursday, with the state Department of Health Services reporting more than 2,000 positive tests for the first time in five days.

New cases were identified in every county in Wisconsin saw -- the first time that’s happened since WBAY.com began listing the daily county case numbers on April 2.

By Thursday’s deadline the state received 13,279 test results -- slightly fewer than Wednesday -- but 18.01% of them came back positive. There were 2,392 positive tests, second only to 2,533 last Friday.

Wisconsin is now averaging 1,940 cases a day for the last 7 days. It had more than 2,000 positive tests four of the past eight days. The 7-day average for the positive rate is 17.26%, an all-time high since the state started receiving more than 1,300 tests per day back in mid-March.

The death toll rose six to 1,265. Deaths were in Brown, Waupaca, Winnebago, Racine, Waukesha and Wood counties. The death rate is down to 1.17% of known cases. Late Thursday afternoon, the Menasha Health Department reported two more deaths, which were the second and third COVID-19 deaths in the city. Those should be added to the state totals in the next couple of days. No information about the victims was provided.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, rose by 76 patients. That’s the second-highest we’ve seen since we began keeping track on April 21. Wisconsin is now averaging 54 hospitalizations per day over the past 7 days.

On Action 2 News This Morning, Prevea president/CEO Dr. Ashok Rai had harsh words about this surge:

“From legislators to public health officials to business owners to people having parties in their garages or weddings in their homes or their backyards, all of that is causing this problem. And we know the harm we are doing. And we’re choosing to ignore it. It’s willful negligence at a huge level,” Dr. Rai said. You can see his interviews here.

Gov. Tony Evers extended the face mask order and declared a new public health emergency Tuesday. 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. Dr. Rai talked about masks extensively on Action 2 News This Morning throughout the summer. You can see some of those interviews here, here and here.

[CLICK HERE to find a community testing site]

There are now 16,315 active cases -- people diagnosed in the past 30 days who haven’t been medically cleared. That’s 15.1% of all the known cases over 7 months. There are 90,726 people who’ve recovered, which is 83.8% of cases.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported Thursday 528 patients are hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment -- 19 more than Wednesday and 181 more than last week, taking deaths and hospital discharges into account -- with 151 in intensive care -- 11 more than Wednesday and 48 more than a week ago.

Almost 6,900 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since that first patient in Madison in February. The percentage of hospitalizations from all known coronavirus cases declined to 6.4% -- a metric we’ve seen steadily go down. The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus who do not need medical treatment outpaces the number of people suffering the virus’s most serious symptoms.

The state’s report on hospital readiness Thursday afternoon said 20% of licensed medical beds in the state are available, an improvement from 18% the day before. In the 7-county Northeast Region, there are 81 patients hospitalized (23 in ICU) and 27% of beds are open. The 8-county Fox Valley Region has 83 patients (11 in ICU) and 13% of beds available.

Dr. Rai expressed concern on Action 2 News This Morning about the number of people being hospitalized. “We have many more in the hospital now than we did in the outbreak of the spring, the first time that we had gotten really bad. Now it’s much worse,” he said. He noted hospitals still need to provide care for others, “from somebody having a stroke to a heart attack to breaking their hip or needing knee surgery.”

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. Going beyond reiterating best practices like social distancing and wearing masks, the tool describes how choices matter and offers suggestions to make activities safer.

Note: The DHS only counts test results for a person once, no matter how many times they are tested.

THURSDAY’S CASE NUMBERS (counties with new cases or deaths are in bold) are as reported by the DHS. State numbers can vary from county health department numbers, which are updated at different times:

Wisconsin

  • Adams - 219 cases (+5) (4 deaths)
  • Ashland - 82 cases (+8) (2 deaths)
  • Barron - 437 cases (+12) (4 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 93 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Brown - 8,221 cases (+189) (62 deaths) (+1)
  • Buffalo - 130 cases (+2) (2 deaths)
  • Burnett - 165 cases (+10) (3 deaths)
  • Calumet - 984 cases (+42) (2 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 498 cases (+9)
  • Clark – 359 cases (+12) (8 deaths)
  • Columbia - 558 cases (+9) (2 deaths)
  • Crawford – 152 cases (+5)
  • Dane – 9,203 cases (+163) (41 deaths)
  • Dodge – 1,728 cases (+51) (14 deaths)
  • Door - 293 cases (+29) (3 deaths)
  • Douglas - 405 cases (+8)
  • Dunn - 449 cases (+23)
  • Eau Claire - 1,728 cases (+25) (6 deaths)
  • Florence - 78 cases (+5) (1 death)
  • Fond du Lac - 1,892 cases (+52) (13 deaths)
  • Forest - 251 cases (+20) (4 deaths)
  • Grant - 894 cases (+2) (19 deaths)
  • Green - 466 cases (+8) (2 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 231 cases (+16)
  • Iowa - 174 cases (+5)
  • Iron - 138 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Jackson - 125 cases (+10) (1 death)
  • Jefferson - 1,298 cases (+20) (8 deaths)
  • Juneau - 354 cases (+17) (2 deaths)
  • Kenosha - 3,387 cases (+53) (65 deaths)
  • Kewaunee - 459 cases (+31) (2 deaths)
  • La Crosse - 2,838 cases (+53) (2 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 248 cases (+9)
  • Langlade - 153 cases (+11) (2 deaths)
  • Lincoln - 176 cases (+7) (1 death)
  • Manitowoc - 957 cases (+39) (3 deaths)
  • Marathon - 1,193 cases (+42) (14 deaths)
  • Marinette - 816 cases (+33) (7 deaths)
  • Marquette - 223 cases (+16) (1 death)
  • Menominee - 59 cases (+1)
  • Milwaukee – 27,356 (+316) (525 deaths)
  • Monroe - 444 cases (+21) (2 deaths)
  • Oconto - 765 cases (+36) (4 deaths)
  • Oneida - 398 cases (+32) (2 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 3,920 cases (+127) (28 deaths)
  • Ozaukee - 1,284 cases (+15) (19 deaths)
  • Pepin - 59 cases (+3)
  • Pierce – 419 cases (+5) (6 deaths)
  • Polk – 231 cases (+3) (2 deaths)
  • Portage - 1,286 cases (+16) (4 deaths)
  • Price - 69 cases (+12)
  • Racine - 4,686 cases (+71) (95 deaths) (+1)
  • Richland - 103 cases (+8) (4 deaths)
  • Rock – 2,382 cases (+55) (32 deaths)
  • Rusk - 55 cases (+3) (1 death)
  • Sauk - 858 cases (+25) (3 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 200 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Shawano – 688 cases (+45) (1 death)
  • Sheboygan - 1,529 cases (+28) (15 deaths)
  • St. Croix - 868 cases (+9) (8 deaths)
  • Taylor - 163 cases (+6) (3 deaths)
  • Trempealeau - 596 cases (+16) (2 deaths)
  • Vernon - 193 cases (+7)
  • Vilas - 184 cases (+7) (1 death)
  • Walworth - 2,525 cases (+22) (34 deaths)
  • Washburn – 96 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Washington - 2,442 cases (+62) (32 deaths)
  • Waukesha - 6,945 cases (+107) (87 deaths) (+1)
  • Waupaca - 963 cases (+21) (20 deaths) (+1)
  • Waushara - 304 cases (+15) (2 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 3,168 cases (+180) (24 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood - 739 cases (+21) (5 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (updated at 4:30 P.M.)

  • Alger - 16 cases (cases revised -2 by state)
  • Baraga - 17 cases (+5)
  • Chippewa - 50 cases
  • Delta – 300 cases (+19) (7 deaths) (+2)
  • Dickinson – 120 cases (+9) (2 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 144 cases (1 death)
  • Houghton – 336 cases (+26) (2 deaths)
  • Iron – 121 cases (+11) (1 death)
  • Keweenaw – 7 cases
  • Luce – 12 cases (+1)
  • Mackinac - 41 cases
  • Marquette - 293 cases (+4) (12 deaths)
  • Menominee - 313 cases (+19) (1 death)
  • Ontonagon – 41 cases
  • Schoolcraft - 22 cases

*The State of Michigan says it will only report county case numbers Monday-Saturday. State health officials say weekend data are often erratic and generally lower than other days due to reduced testing and lab staffing.

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.

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