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Wisconsin adds fewer than 2,000 new coronavirus cases for first time in 5 days

(NBC15)
Published: Oct. 4, 2020 at 2:18 PM CDT
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Wisconsin health officials report more than 1,800 people have tested positive for the coronavirus Sunday. This breaks a five day streak of the state adding more than 2,000 cases a day.

According to Sunday’s report, 10,815 tests came back and 1,865 were positive, or 17.24%. State officials say Wisconsin is averaging 2,400 cases a day for the past 7 days. A total 132,663 people in Wisconsin have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 throughout the past 8 months.

The 7-day average percentage of positive tests, known as the positivity rate, is at 20.23%. That percentage reached 21.71% on Saturday. The 14-day average decreased Sunday to 19.38% after setting a new high Saturday of 19.58%.

Health officials say the death toll rose by five on Sunday to 1,377. One new death was reported in Dodge, Forest, Shawano, Waukesha and Wood County.

The death rate for those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 fell to 1.04%, a decrease from Saturday’s report of 1.05%. That percentage has declined since Friday.

County-by-county case numbers from the Department of Health Services are listed below.

DHS reports 24,264 currently active cases, meaning 18.3% of all cases over the past 8 months were diagnosed within the last 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. There are 107,004 people who are considered recovered, which is 80.7% 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 58 more hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients. The 7-day average is up to almost 79 people hospitalized each day. The number of all people diagnosed with the coronavirus requiring hospitalization is up to 7,646. The hospitalization rate is 5.8% of diagnosed cases.

As of Sunday, the DHS report says the state’s 134 hospitals currently have 714 COVID-19 patients with 194 in intensive care – six fewer in ICU than Saturday. The Wisconsin Hospital Association says 16% of all ICU hospital beds in the state are available.

The DHS reports Sunday that the 8-county Fox Valley Region had 129 COVID-19 patients, 8 in ICU, with 12% of medical beds available. The Northeast Region has 125 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, 43 in ICU, with 26% 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

The De Pere and Oneida Nation Health Departments, as well as the Brown County Health and Human Services Department, issued a joint Public Health Emergency COVID-19 alert Saturday, citing very high levels of COVID-19 cases resulting in increased COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths.

This comes after 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.

SUNDAY’S CASE NUMBERS AS REPORTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES (counties with additional cases and/or deaths are indicated in bold)

Wisconsin

  • Adams - 277 cases (+1) (4 deaths)
  • Ashland - 157 cases (+7) (2 deaths)
  • Barron - 522 cases (+6) (6 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 127 cases (+2) (1 death)
  • Brown - 10,453 cases (+55) (69 deaths)
  • Buffalo - 159 cases (+3) (2 deaths)
  • Burnett - 220 cases (+3) (4 deaths)
  • Calumet - 1,527 cases (+55) (5 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 641 cases (+11)
  • Clark – 474 cases (+4) (8 deaths)
  • Columbia - 825 cases (+37) (3 deaths)
  • Crawford – 197 cases (+3)
  • Dane – 10,452 cases (+113) (43 deaths)
  • Dodge – 2,178 cases (+41) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Door - 428 cases (+15) (3 deaths)
  • Douglas - 546 cases (+6)
  • Dunn - 682 cases (+9) (1 death)
  • Eau Claire - 2,123 cases (+23) (7 deaths)
  • Florence - 110 cases (2 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 2,455 cases (+40) (14 deaths)
  • Forest - 335 cases (+5) (7 deaths) (+1)
  • Grant – 1,201 cases (+38) (19 deaths)
  • Green - 598 cases (+16) (3 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 353 cases (+5)
  • Iowa - 213 cases
  • Iron - 147 cases (1 death)
  • Jackson - 176 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Jefferson - 1,651 cases (+38) (8 deaths)
  • Juneau - 455 cases (+5) (2 deaths)
  • Kenosha - 3,708 cases (+20) (68 deaths)
  • Kewaunee - 703 cases (+17) (2 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 3,299 cases (+15) (4 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 356 cases (+7)
  • Langlade - 297 cases (+29) (2 deaths)
  • Lincoln - 312 cases (+18) (1 death)
  • Manitowoc – 1,412 cases (+66) (5 deaths)
  • Marathon - 1,861 cases (+51) (16 deaths)
  • Marinette - 1,118 cases (+18) (9 deaths)
  • Marquette - 342 cases (+12) (1 death)
  • Menominee - 119 cases (+12)
  • Milwaukee – 30,318 (+226) (545 deaths)
  • Monroe - 656 cases (+21) (3 deaths)
  • Oconto - 1,173 cases (+21) (4 deaths)
  • Oneida - 594 cases (+23) (4 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 5,486 cases (+105) (32 deaths)
  • Ozaukee - 1,468 cases (+20) (20 deaths)
  • Pepin – 70 cases (+1)
  • Pierce – 470 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Polk – 282 cases (+3) (2 deaths)
  • Portage - 1,671 cases (+32) (7 deaths)
  • Price - 160 cases (+5)
  • Racine - 5,233 cases (+44) (98 deaths)
  • Richland - 214 cases (+18) (4 deaths)
  • Rock – 2,783 cases (+1) (33 deaths)
  • Rusk - 72 cases (+2) (1 death)
  • Sauk – 1,030 cases (+18) (4 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 245 cases (+6) (1 death)
  • Shawano – 1,271 cases (+74) (4 deaths) (+1)
  • Sheboygan - 2,169 cases (+14) (19 deaths)
  • St. Croix - 1,052 cases (+25) (9 deaths)
  • Taylor - 236 cases (+8) (4 deaths)
  • Trempealeau - 719 cases (+2) (2 deaths)
  • Vernon - 282 cases (+8) (1 death)
  • Vilas - 286 cases (+14) (1 death)
  • Walworth - 2,749 cases (+21) (35 deaths)
  • Washburn – 129 cases (+1) (2 deaths)
  • Washington - 2,916 cases (+43) (35 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 8,118 cases (+59) (94 deaths) (+1)
  • Waupaca – 1,320 cases (+45) (21 deaths)
  • Waushara - 448 cases (+9) (3 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 4,890 cases (+164) (34 deaths)
  • Wood - 944 cases (+20) (6 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Numbers are from Saturday)*

  • Alger - 21 cases
  • Baraga - 35 cases (3 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 54 cases
  • Delta – 575 cases (8 deaths)
  • Dickinson – 208 cases (2 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 160 cases (1 death)
  • Houghton – 535 cases (3 deaths)
  • Iron – 242 cases (7 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 11 cases
  • Luce – 13 cases
  • Mackinac - 54 cases
  • Marquette - 352 cases (12 deaths)
  • Menominee - 394 cases (3 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 44 cases
  • Schoolcraft - 33 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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