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Wisconsin reports record 27 COVID-19 deaths, surpasses 120,000 cases

The state releases guidelines for counties to slow the virus’s spread
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 1:57 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 4:32 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin added 27 deaths to its COVID-19 death toll on Wednesday, the most ever reported in a single day. State health officials say it’s the lagging result of the current surge in coronavirus cases we’re seeing.

The death rate went up from 1.08% on Tuesday to 1.09% on Wednesday, the first time we’ve seen it go up since a steady decline began five months ago in April. The death toll is 1,327.

Deaths were reported in 20 counties: Barron, Brown (2), Calumet, Dane, Dunn, Kenosha, La Crosse, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Milwaukee (3), Outagamie, Racine (3), Sauk, Sheboygan (2), St. Croix, Washington (2), Waukesha, Waushara and Winnebago.

It was the first COVID-19 death in Dunn County. There are 9 counties which have not reported any deaths.

Shortly before the state numbers came out, the Winnebago County Health Department reported 3 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, including one patient in long-term care. Only one was added to the state numbers on Wednesday.

The state received 11,792 test results by Wednesday’s deadline and just under 20% (19.67%) were positive, for 2,319 new cases. Positive results came from 70 of the 72 counties; only Rusk and Iron counties didn’t have new cases, and the caseload in Iron County was revised downward by 1 case after further review.

91 more people were hospitalized in the past 24 hours. Updated numbers Wednesday show a new record 683 patients in hospitals for COVID-19 treatment along with 198 in ICU. That’s 37 more people hospitalized but 7 fewer in ICU than yesterday. The hospitalization rate for all coronavirus cases held steady at 6%.

New numbers Wednesday from the Wisconsin Hospital Association find 17% of licensed medical beds in the state’s 134 hospitals are available. In the 8-county Fox Valley Region there were 109 COVID-19 patients with 15 in ICU, and 14% of beds are available. The 7-county Northeast Region had 113 patients, 34 in ICU, with 21% of beds available. Hospitalization numbers take deaths and hospital discharges into account.

With so many positive tests coming back, active cases -- those identified in the past 30 days or aren’t medically cleared --represent 17% of all cases. The state has 21,004 active cases. That’s almost 1 out of every 250 people in Wisconsin right now. 99,925 people (81.7% of all cases) are considered recovered.

It took 149 days for the state to reach its first 30,000 coronavirus cases. In September, we added 30,000 in 20 days.

Cumulative confirmed casesDate reachedDuration
122,274September 305 days
110,828September 255 days
101,227September 205 days
91,304September 155 days
80,300September 510 days
70,009August 2214 days
60,554August 913 days
50,179July 2812 days
40,507July 1711 days
30,317July 328 days
20,249June 526 days
10,219May 1095 days
1February 5--

Ohio’s governor announced Wisconsin is 1 of 7 states Ohioans are discouraged from traveling to because of our rate of positive cases -- and those who do visit here should quarantine for 14 days.

Health Departments Overwhelmed

Manitowoc and Door county health departments this week announced they can’t keep up with contact tracing because of the surge in coronavirus cases. State health officials say other counties are getting overwhelmed, too, making it difficult to identify the source of outbreaks. Some health departments are now asking people who test positive to reach out themselves to the people they’ve had direct contact with and advise them to quarantine until the 14th day from their last contact. Health Secretary Andrea Palm urges people who test positive to pick up calls from contact tracers and answer questions as thoroughly as possible.

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.

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.

Charts will be updated by 4 P.M. every Wednesday.

[CLICK HERE to find a community testing site]

Guidance for local health departments

The DHS also released a document local health departments can use for guidance to slow the spread of the virus.

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. You can read the document HERE.

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.

WEDNESDAY’S CASE NUMBERS (counties with additional cases and/or deaths are indicated in bold)

Wisconsin

  • Adams - 259 cases (+4) (4 deaths)
  • Ashland - 127 cases (+5) (2 deaths)
  • Barron - 490 cases (+8) (6 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield - 115 cases (+2) (1 death)
  • Brown - 9,536 cases (+313) (65 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo - 143 cases (+2) (2 deaths)
  • Burnett - 205 cases (+6) (3 deaths)
  • Calumet - 1,282 cases (+46) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa - 585 cases (+17)
  • Clark – 416 cases (+9) (8 deaths)
  • Columbia - 679 cases (+22) (3 deaths)
  • Crawford – 179 cases (+6)
  • Dane – 10,129 cases (+272) (43 deaths) (+1)
  • Dodge – 1,959 cases (+28) (17 deaths)
  • Door - 370 cases (+16) (3 deaths)
  • Douglas - 503 cases (+10)
  • Dunn - 612 cases (+19) (1 death) (+1)
  • Eau Claire - 2,000 cases (+31) (6 deaths)
  • Florence - 98 cases (+2) (2 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 2,222 cases (+51) (14 deaths)
  • Forest - 294 cases (+5) (6 deaths)
  • Grant – 1,059 cases (+29) (19 deaths)
  • Green - 556 cases (+20) (3 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 304 cases (+8)
  • Iowa - 194 cases (+7)
  • Iron - 142 cases (1 death) (cases revised -1 by state)
  • Jackson - 156 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Jefferson - 1,515 cases (+29) (8 deaths)
  • Juneau - 411 cases (+23) (2 deaths)
  • Kenosha - 3,589 cases (+40) (68 deaths) (+1)
  • Kewaunee - 602 cases (+17) (2 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 3,130 cases (+35) (3 deaths) (+1)
  • Lafayette - 309 cases (+10)
  • Langlade - 221 cases (+23) (2 deaths)
  • Lincoln - 244 cases (+10) (1 death)
  • Manitowoc – 1,187 cases (+17) (4 deaths) (+1)
  • Marathon - 1,547 cases (+89) (15 deaths) (+1)
  • Marinette - 1,004 cases (+28) (8 deaths)
  • Marquette - 304 cases (+23) (2 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee - 88 cases (+7)
  • Milwaukee – 29,149 (+215) (532 deaths) (+3)
  • Monroe - 567 cases (+18) (3 deaths)
  • Oconto - 966 cases (+50) (4 deaths)
  • Oneida - 490 cases (+29) (2 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 4,881 cases (+121) (30 deaths) (+1)
  • Ozaukee - 1,393 cases (+8) (19 deaths)
  • Pepin – 68 cases (+1)
  • Pierce – 450 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Polk – 253 cases (+3) (2 deaths)
  • Portage - 1,512 cases (+31) (6 deaths)
  • Price - 119 cases (+1)
  • Racine - 4,976 cases (+29) (98 deaths) (+3)
  • Richland - 147 cases (+6) (4 deaths)
  • Rock – 2,619 cases (+18) (32 deaths)
  • Rusk - 64 cases (1 death)
  • Sauk - 944 cases (+16) (4 deaths) (+1)
  • Sawyer - 225 cases (+6) (1 death)
  • Shawano – 1,014 cases (+46) (1 death)
  • Sheboygan - 1,814 cases (+104) (18 deaths) (+2)
  • St. Croix - 960 cases (+13) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor - 202 cases (+8) (4 deaths)
  • Trempealeau - 670 cases (+14) (2 deaths)
  • Vernon - 247 cases (+9) (1 death)
  • Vilas - 237 cases (+10) (1 death)
  • Walworth - 2,629 cases (+11) (35 deaths)
  • Washburn – 114 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Washington - 2,697 cases (+35) (34 deaths) (+2)
  • Waukesha - 7,604 cases (+75) (90 deaths) (+1)
  • Waupaca – 1,122 cases (+30) (20 deaths)
  • Waushara - 385 cases (+13) (3 deaths) (+1)
  • Winnebago – 4,134 cases (+77) (28 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood - 857 cases (+26) (5 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

  • Alger - 17 cases
  • Baraga - 27 cases (+1) (2 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 51 cases (+1)
  • Delta – 499 cases (+64) (8 deaths)
  • Dickinson – 171 cases (+15) (2 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 153 cases (+2) (1 death)
  • Houghton – 478 cases (+37) (2 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron – 199 cases (+6) (4 deaths) (+2)
  • Keweenaw – 10 cases (+2)
  • Luce – 12 cases
  • Mackinac - 49 cases (+5)
  • Marquette - 335 cases (+8) (12 deaths)
  • Menominee - 365 cases (+15) (2 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 42 cases (+1)
  • Schoolcraft - 27 cases

The State of Michigan 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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