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Wisconsin nears 8,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, setting new one-day record

The positivity rate was closed to 40%
The CDC says COVID-19 will be a Top 10 leading cause of death for 2020. Data from 2018, the...
The CDC says COVID-19 will be a Top 10 leading cause of death for 2020. Data from 2018, the most recent year available, indicates the virus will rank third behind heart disease and cancer.(Source: CDC via CNN)
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 2:01 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:00 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin confirmed a record 7,989 coronavirus cases in one 24-hour period Wednesday, about 900 more cases than the day before and 212 cases more than the previous record. Every Wisconsin county confirmed new cases, and only four counties had single-digit increases.

To offer some perspective, Wisconsin confirmed more COVID-19 cases in the last 18 days than it had in the first 231 days since the virus reached Wisconsin (105,932 cases, February 5 - Sept. 23) and more than the entire month of October (103,072). Wisconsin is currently averaging 6,564 new cases every day.

The 20,129 tests had a positivity rate close to 40% (39.69%). The remaining 12,140 tests were negative. To date, 331,837 people have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in Wisconsin while more than 2 million have tested negative.

The state recorded 52 more deaths, bringing the death toll to 2,793. That’s 40 fewer deaths than Tuesday but above the 7-day average of 48 deaths a day. Still, the death rate declined again to 0.84%, after rising back to 0.85% with Tuesday’s record 92 deaths.

Deaths were reported in Barron, Brown (2), Buffalo, Burnett (2), Chippewa, Dane (4), Dodge (5), Dunn, Eau Claire, Forest, Juneau, Kenosha, Marathon (7), Milwaukee (11), Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pierce, Portage, Price, Sauk, St. Croix, Waukesha, Winnebago (5), and Wood counties. The death count was revised down by one in Langlade County.

County case and death numbers are listed later in this article.

The state says almost 75,000 confirmed cases are still active (74,616), or 22.5% of all the known cases since February 5. There are 254,365 people considered recovered, or 76.7%, who have passed a 30-day standard or have been medically cleared.

There were 283 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the past 24-hour period, the third-most on record. We expect updated figures on current hospitalizations later Wednesday afternoon.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association says 2,217 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, down from its peak of 2,277 on Tuesday, taking deaths and hospital discharges into account. There were 428 COVID-19 patients in intensive care. To help ease the strain and free up beds at other hospitals, Children’s Wisconsin announced it will start accepting young adult patients as old as 26. The alternate care facility set up on the Wisconsin state fairgrounds is treating 23 patients.

ACTION IN MADISON

Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday he’s extending the mask mandate in Wisconsin through the rest of the year. It was due to expire Nov. 21. The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments challenging the mask mandate.

Earlier this week, the governor released a package of bills to address the coronavirus crisis in the state. CLICK HERE to read the legislation or read the related story HERE.

State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos held a news conference Tuesday saying the Assembly has ideas for COVID-19 relief, including building a more robust testing system, making home tests available, and doubling the number of contact tracers to help track the spread of the virus. Vos didn’t put forth any legislation.

WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE REPORT

Tuesday, ABC News obtained a White House Coronavirus Task Force report for the nation’s governors from this past Sunday, Nov. 15. The report says Wisconsin has the 5th highest rate of new infections per 100,000 residents and the 8th highest positivity rate for test results in the country.

White House Coronavirus Task Force maps showing the change in COVID-19 virus infections per...
White House Coronavirus Task Force maps showing the change in COVID-19 virus infections per capita and test positivity rate in Wisconsin counties between October and November.(Obtained by ABC News)

The report reveals during the first full week of November, 70% of nursing homes reported at least one staff member tested positive for COVID-19, 34% had at least one resident test positive, and 14% had at least one resident die of COVID-19. The task force says coronavirus cases in the state are doubling every 20 days and daily COVID-19 death have increased seven-fold since September. A couple of times, the task force commends Gov. Tony Evers’s efforts to tell the public how to slow the spread of the virus.

For Wisconsin, the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends proactively testing groups “representative of the community,” including large, private-sector employers, teachers, community college students, county workers, hospital personnel and staff in crowded settings). It says the state should aim for at least 2,000 tests per 100,000 population in every county every week, and intensify that in areas showing increased spread of the COVID-19 virus.

HOSPITAL READINESS

The need for gowns and paper medical masks remains unchanged this week. The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) says 25 of the state’s 134 hospitals have less than a 7 day’s supply of gowns and 14 have less than 7 days of paper medical masks.

As of Wednesday, 9.8% of ICU beds and 10.6% of all hospital beds are open across the state’s hospitals, according to the WHA. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all available to patients if hospitals don’t have staffing to support them.

The 13 hospitals in the Fox Valley region are treating 146 COVID-19 patients, with 22 in ICU. There are just 4 ICU beds open (3.8%), the WHA says, and there are no intermediate care beds open, according to the WHA website. Overall, 9.1% of the hospital beds are open. The Fox Valley region serves 8 counties.

The 10 hospitals in the Northeast region are caring for 188 COVID-19 patients, with 50 in ICU. There are 19 ICU beds open (9.2%) and 13.9% of beds overall, including 5 intermediate care beds. The Northeast region serves 7 counties.

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

Wisconsin*

  • Adams - 887 cases (+23) (6 deaths)
  • Ashland - 539 cases (+14) (7 deaths)
  • Barron – 2,882 cases (+128) (35 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield - 572 cases (+9) (6 deaths)
  • Brown – 20,307 cases (+219) (124 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo – 623 cases (+22) (4 deaths) (+1)
  • Burnett – 617 cases (+39) (9 deaths) (+2)
  • Calumet - 3,687 cases (+50) (21 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 3,797 cases (+104) (42 deaths) (+1)
  • Clark – 1,788 cases (+47) (30 deaths)
  • Columbia – 2,855 cases (+59) (10 deaths)
  • Crawford – 725 cases (+15) (4 deaths)
  • Dane – 23,474 cases (+544) (68 deaths) (+4)
  • Dodge – 7,102 cases (+193) (59 deaths) (+5)
  • Door - 1,438 cases (+24) (10 deaths)
  • Douglas – 1,421 cases (+15) (1 death)
  • Dunn – 2,161 cases (+45) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Eau Claire – 6,602 cases (+351) (46 deaths) (+1)
  • Florence - 285 cases (+11) (11 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 7,421 cases (+119) (35 deaths)
  • Forest - 669 cases (+7) (15 deaths) (+1)
  • Grant – 3,063 cases (+69) (53 deaths)
  • Green – 1,441 cases (+20) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,079 cases (+16) (5 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,073 cases (+43) (4 deaths)
  • Iron - 310 cases (+5) (6 deaths)
  • Jackson - 1,362 cases (+69) (4 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 4,526 cases (+134) (33 deaths)
  • Juneau - 1,655 cases (+24) (7 deaths) (+1)
  • Kenosha – 7,997 cases (+286) (110 deaths) (+1)
  • Kewaunee - 1,487 cases (+31) (14 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 6,845 cases (+204) (31 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 958 cases (+18) (2 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,406 cases (+16) (21 deaths) (revised -1 by state)
  • Lincoln – 1,622 cases (+41) (16 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 4,237 cases (+66) (29 deaths)
  • Marathon – 8,497 cases (+213 (108 deaths) (+7)
  • Marinette - 2,592 cases (+43) (24 deaths)
  • Marquette - 963 cases (+28) (7 deaths)
  • Menominee - 525 cases (+18) (2 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 58,302 (+971) (668 deaths) (+11)
  • Monroe - 2,039 cases (+47) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 2,872 cases (+34) (23 deaths)
  • Oneida - 1,999 cases (+34) (24 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 12,532 cases (+172) (107 deaths) (+1)
  • Ozaukee - 3,982 cases (+84) (32 deaths) (+1)
  • Pepin – 381 cases (+14) (2 deaths)
  • Pierce – 1,625 cases (+72) (11 deaths) (+1)
  • Polk – 1,693 cases (+64) (4 deaths)
  • Portage – 4,140 cases (+59) (30 deaths)
  • Price - 618 cases (+20) (3 deaths)
  • Racine – 12,066 cases (+243) (140 deaths)
  • Richland - 741 cases (+8) (10 deaths)
  • Rock – 8,092 cases (+85) (60 deaths)
  • Rusk - 678 cases (+47) (5 deaths)
  • Sauk – 3,043 cases (+63) (11 deaths) (+1)
  • Sawyer - 710 cases (+25) (5 deaths)
  • Shawano – 3,412 cases (+40) (42 deaths)
  • Sheboygan - 7,840 cases (+205) (48 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 3,631 cases (+105) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor - 992 cases (+89) (11 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 1,963 cases (+98) (8 deaths)
  • Vernon - 894 cases (+21) (7 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,039 cases (+23) (11 deaths)
  • Walworth – 5,126 cases (+108) (44 deaths)
  • Washburn – 501 cases (+18) (2 deaths)
  • Washington – 7,388 cases (+173) (59 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 21,475 cases (+1,306) (166 deaths) (+1)
  • Waupaca – 3,419 cases (+34) (75 deaths)
  • Waushara – 1,636 cases (+19) (7 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 12,098 cases (+128) (98 deaths) (+5)
  • Wood – 3,420 cases (+197) (18 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 137 cases (+8) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 308 cases (+12) (5 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 262 cases (+12) (2 deaths)
  • Delta – 1,907 cases (+38) (46 deaths)
  • Dickinson - 1,360 cases (+27) (28 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 497 cases (+3) (9 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,106 cases (+21) (8 deaths)
  • Iron – 610 cases (+12) (27 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Keweenaw – 45 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Luce – 105 cases
  • Mackinac - 185 cases (+4)
  • Marquette - 2,079 cases (+68) (23 deaths)
  • Menominee - 1,017 cases (+24) (11 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 225 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft - 150 cases (+2) (1 death)

* 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. Monday’s numbers include updates since Saturday’s reporting deadline.

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.

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