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Wisconsin still has high number of coronavirus cases, hospitalizations Friday

20% of tests were positive 6 of the past 7 days
WISCONSIN state map with CORONAVIRUS lettering, on texture, finished graphic
WISCONSIN state map with CORONAVIRUS lettering, on texture, finished graphic(Associated Press)
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 2:09 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 9:30 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – The Department of Health Services (DHS) reports more than 20% of coronavirus tests came back positive for 6 of the last 7 days. The number of deaths abated after two days above 20.

According to the latest report Friday, 13,595 tests came back and 2,745 were positive, or 20.19%. Wisconsin is averaging 2,440 cases a day for the past 7 days. A total 127,906 people in Wisconsin have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 in the past 8 months.

Every county except Pepin reported new coronavirus cases. Brown County joined Dane and Milwaukee as the only counties with more than 10,000 cases.

The 7-day average percentage of positive tests, known as the positivity rate, is up to 21.98%, a new high. Even the 14-day average is a new high at 19.42%.

The death toll rose by 5 to 1,353. There were 6 deaths reported in all -- 2 in Outagamie County and 1 each in Dodge, Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Winnebago counties -- while one death was removed from Washington County’s total.

The death rate fell to 1.06% of people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.

County-by-county case numbers are listed below.

DHS reports 23,005 currently active cases, meaning 18% of all cases over the past 8 months were diagnosed within the last 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. There are 103,530 people who are considered recovered, which is 81% 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 97 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 7,506. The hospitalization rate is 5.9% of diagnosed cases, the same as yesterday.

Friday’s 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.

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.

[CLICK HERE to find a community testing site]

Health Departments Overwhelmed

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.

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

Wisconsin

  • Adams - 270 cases (+5) (4 deaths)
  • Ashland - 140 cases (+6) (2 deaths)
  • Barron - 504 cases (+6) (6 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 121 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Brown - 10,022 cases (+226) (66 deaths)
  • Buffalo - 151 cases (+4) (2 deaths)
  • Burnett - 212 cases (+4) (4 deaths)
  • Calumet - 1,402 cases (+60) (5 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 610 cases (+15)
  • Clark – 444 cases (+8) (8 deaths)
  • Columbia - 737 cases (+39) (3 deaths)
  • Crawford – 188 cases (+4)
  • Dane – 10,217 cases (+16) (43 deaths)
  • Dodge – 2,085 cases (+82) (18 deaths) (+1)
  • Door - 397 cases (+13) (3 deaths)
  • Douglas - 531 cases (+9)
  • Dunn - 659 cases (+27) (1 death)
  • Eau Claire - 2,058 cases (+42) (7 deaths)
  • Florence - 103 cases (+4) (2 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 2,364 cases (+68) (14 deaths)
  • Forest - 321 cases (+24) (6 deaths)
  • Grant – 1,137 cases (+26) (19 deaths)
  • Green - 571 cases (+8) (3 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 335 cases (+13)
  • Iowa - 209 cases (+11)
  • Iron - 144 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Jackson - 168 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Jefferson - 1,579 cases (+36) (8 deaths)
  • Juneau - 439 cases (+11) (2 deaths)
  • Kenosha - 3,661 cases (+50) (68 deaths)
  • Kewaunee - 652 cases (+25) (2 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 3,245 cases (+40) (3 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 340 cases (+9)
  • Langlade - 251 cases (+15) (2 deaths)
  • Lincoln - 275 cases (+14) (1 death)
  • Manitowoc – 1,279 cases (+43) (5 deaths)
  • Marathon - 1,721 cases (+88) (15 deaths)
  • Marinette - 1,074 cases (+50) (8 deaths)
  • Marquette - 321 cases (+12) (1 death)
  • Menominee - 102 cases (+3)
  • Milwaukee – 29,790 (+312) (539 deaths) (+1)
  • Monroe - 612 cases (+17) (3 deaths)
  • Oconto - 1,084 cases (+59) (4 deaths)
  • Oneida - 554 cases (+35) (3 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 5,237 cases (+152) (32 deaths) (+2)
  • Ozaukee - 1,425 cases (+19) (20 deaths) (+1)
  • Pepin – 68 cases
  • Pierce – 457 cases (+1) (7 deaths)
  • Polk – 271 cases (+8) (2 deaths)
  • Portage - 1,577 cases (+32) (7 deaths)
  • Price - 146 cases (+11)
  • Racine - 5,135 cases (+74) (98 deaths)
  • Richland - 186 cases (+20) (4 deaths)
  • Rock – 2,723 cases (+53) (33 deaths)
  • Rusk - 69 cases (+3) (1 death)
  • Sauk - 992 cases (+27) (4 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 233 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Shawano – 1,138 cases (+58) (1 death)
  • Sheboygan - 2,072 cases (+102) (18 deaths)
  • St. Croix - 1,000 cases (+30) (9 deaths)
  • Taylor - 224 cases (+18) (4 deaths)
  • Trempealeau - 705 cases (+19) (2 deaths)
  • Vernon - 262 cases (+5) (1 death)
  • Vilas - 253 cases (+10) (1 death)
  • Walworth - 2,718 cases (+73) (35 deaths)
  • Washburn – 122 cases (+6) (1 death)
  • Washington - 2,815 cases (+65) (35 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Waukesha - 7,923 cases (+146) (92 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 1,235 cases (+32) (21 deaths)
  • Waushara - 419 cases (+6) (3 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 4,516 cases (+199) (33 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood - 906 cases (+28) (5 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

  • Alger - 21 cases (+2)
  • Baraga - 31 cases (+1) (3 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa - 53 cases (+1)
  • Delta – 536 cases (+19) (8 deaths)
  • Dickinson – 196 cases (+16) (2 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 159 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Houghton – 525 cases (+30) (3 deaths)
  • Iron – 221 cases (+7) (5 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 11 cases
  • Luce – 13 cases (+1)
  • Mackinac - 53 cases (+2)
  • Marquette - 341 cases (+4) (12 deaths)
  • Menominee - 386 cases (+6) (2 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 43 cases (+1)
  • Schoolcraft - 32 cases (+3)

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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