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COVID-19 deaths pass 3,500; death rate rising again

The state identified 3,777 new coronavirus cases
WISCONSIN state map with CORONAVIRUS lettering, on texture, finished graphic
WISCONSIN state map with CORONAVIRUS lettering, on texture, finished graphic(Associated Press)
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 2:07 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2020 at 3:51 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin passed 3,500 deaths from COVID-19 with Wednesday’s report from the state Department of Health Services. The DHS recorded 82 more deaths, the fourth-highest loss this month. The state is losing an average 46 people a day to COVID-19, and the death rate climbed back up to 0.89%, a rate which was last seen on November 1.

Deaths were reported in Chippewa, Clark, Dane (21), Douglas, Eau Claire, Forest, Jackson, Kenosha (3), La Crosse, Lincoln, Marathon (2), Marinette, Milwaukee (10), Outagamie (3), Pierce, Polk (6), Racine (8), Rock (3), Sauk, Shawano (2), Sheboygan, Trempealeau (5), Waukesha (7), Winnebago and Wood counties. The death count was revised downward in Brown and Richland counties.

The state identified 3,777 new coronavirus cases in the new report based on 9,983 tests -- a positivity rate of 37.83%. The 7-day average for new cases declined to 3,664 a day, but we need to point out the state received fewer than 10,000 test results five of the past 7 days because of the Thanksgiving holiday break, when many testing sites were closed. Every county in Wisconsin reported at least 1 new case, which has been the norm for over a month.

The 7-day average for the positivity rate is up to 35.66%. Medical experts say we need to get that below 5% to show the virus is being managed, and we haven’t seen it that low since the end of June.

County-by-county cases and deaths are listed later in this article. The DHS also released a new, interactive map online that shows COVID-19 virus cases and deaths by county, municipality, ZIP Code or school district. CLICK HERE. You can view cases and deaths by total numbers or per capita or deaths as a percentage of total cases. Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm says it “offers new ways for people to understand COVID-19 activity within their communities.”

The state says 395,090 [corrected figure] people have tested positive for the coronavirus. Wisconsin is likely to surpass 400,000 cases tomorrow or Friday -- less than 3 weeks after passing 300,000. That’s equivalent to 6.9% of the state’s population. It’s been 10 months since Wisconsin’s first COVID-19 case.

The percentage of active cases declined again to 16.7%. The state says 65,926 people were diagnosed in the past 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. Another 325,587 have passed that time limit.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear 14 days after exposure, if a person infected with the coronavirus shows any symptoms at all. Gov. Evers urged Wisconsinites to be more vigilant about wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance from people who aren’t from their household. “It shows the people you pass that you care about them.”

Prevea Health president/CEO Dr. Ashok Rai said there’s a lot of concern in the health community about the coronavirus spreading from traveling and family gatherings during the Thanksgiving break and the state will see the effects of that by Thursday, allowing time for symptoms to appear and test results to come back. “The people coming back from Thanksgiving that didn’t do the right things, if they’re going to turn positive, likely probably by this Thursday we’ll start to see some of that. But we don’t know who they’ve infected along the way, so our numbers will continue to go up over this time period. That was the concern: a surge on top of a surge.”

HOSPITALIZATIONS

Another 197 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing that metric down after a near-record 277 hospitalizations the day before. It brought the 7-day average down, also, from 166 to 159 hospitalizations per day. To date, 17,569 people have needed hospitalization for COVID-19 since February, holding steady at 4.4% of all known coronavirus cases.

Wednesday afternoon, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported 1,780 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, the lowest current hospitalizations since 1,774 patients on Nov. 5. The WHA reports 397 are in ICU, putting that number below 400 for the third time this week. Daily changes in hospitalization numbers take deaths and discharges into account.

The Fox Valley region’s 13 hospitals are treating 100 COVID-19 patients, with 23 in ICU. The Northeast region’s hospitals are taking care of 166 COVID-19 hospitals, with 43 in ICU.

There were 8 patients at the alternate care facility at the state fairgrounds Wednesday. The field hospital is meant to help free up hospital beds by taking patients who are close to being released from the hospital but not quite ready, such as those who are ambulatory but still need oxygen.

HOSPITAL READINESS

The WHA reported 167 ICU beds are open out of 1,466 in the state’s 134 hospitals (11.4% of ICU beds). Counting ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation, the state has 1,549 beds open (13.9%), which is 54 fewer beds than Tuesday. These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19, and whether an open bed can be filled depends on whether the hospital has the necessary medical and support staff.

The Fox Valley region, which serves 8 counties, has 10 ICU beds (9.6%) open, up from 4 a day earlier, and 3 intermediate care beds open, when Tuesday there were none. Overall, 89 of 853 beds are open (10.4%), 5 fewer beds than Tuesday.

The Northeast region, serving 7 counties, has 16 ICU beds -- twice as many as the day before -- which is 7.7% of the ICU beds. Overall, 153 of the hospitals’ 956 beds (16%) are open, 5 more beds than Tuesday.

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

Wisconsin*

  • Adams – 1,071 cases (+6) (7 deaths)
  • Ashland – 697 cases (+17) (9 deaths)
  • Barron – 3,688 cases (+38) (41 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 698 cases (+13) (14 deaths)
  • Brown – 22,857 cases (+130) (139 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Buffalo – 828 cases (+9) (4 deaths)
  • Burnett – 790 cases (+10) (13 deaths)
  • Calumet – 4,086 cases (+16) (26 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 4,921 cases (+127) (53 deaths) (+1)
  • Clark – 2,215 cases (+42) (42 deaths) (+1)
  • Columbia – 3,531 cases (+33) (12 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,318 cases (+4) (8 deaths)
  • Dane – 27,830 cases (+230) (102 deaths) (+21)
  • Dodge – 8,457 cases (+49) (74 deaths)
  • Door - 1,612 cases (+11) (11 deaths)
  • Douglas – 2,138 cases (+26) (6 deaths) (+1)
  • Dunn – 2,863 cases (+34) (13 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 7,909 cases (+55) (59 deaths) (+1)
  • Florence - 333 cases (+6) (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 8,569 cases (+76) (50 deaths)
  • Forest - 733 cases (+2) (18 deaths) (+1)
  • Grant – 3,528 cases (+29) (64 deaths)
  • Green – 1,739 cases (+41) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,192 cases (+7) (6 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,315 cases (+9) (5 deaths)
  • Iron - 363 cases (+3) (10 deaths)
  • Jackson - 1,755 cases (+17) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Jefferson – 5,426 cases (+23) (39 deaths)
  • Juneau - 1,937 cases (+7) (7 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 9,710 cases (+174) (153 deaths) (+3)
  • Kewaunee - 1,713 cases (+7) (17 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 8,209 cases (+83) (37 deaths) (+1)
  • Lafayette - 1,095 cases (+1) (4 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,558 cases (+13) (29 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 1,986 cases (+11) (30 deaths) (+1)
  • Manitowoc – 4,980 cases (+38) (37 deaths)
  • Marathon – 9,926 cases (+115) (126 deaths) (+2)
  • Marinette - 3,012 cases (+27) (29 deaths) (+1)
  • Marquette – 1,032 cases (+4) (15 deaths)
  • Menominee - 570 cases (+7) (8 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 69,786 (+743) (756 deaths) (+10)
  • Monroe - 2,683 cases (+34) (14 deaths)
  • Oconto – 3,177 cases (+16) (28 deaths)
  • Oneida - 2,346 cases (+19) (34 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 13,854 cases (+79) (133 deaths) (+3)
  • Ozaukee - 4,891 cases (+78) (36 deaths)
  • Pepin – 497 cases (+16) (2 deaths)
  • Pierce – 2,204 cases (+27) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Polk – 2,236 cases (+20) (15 deaths) (+6)
  • Portage – 4,770 cases (+58) (37 deaths)
  • Price – 751 cases (+19) (4 deaths)
  • Racine – 14,288 cases (+101) (177 deaths) (+8)
  • Richland - 891 cases (+6) (13 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Rock – 9,553 cases (+60) (90 deaths) (+3)
  • Rusk - 904 cases (+16) (7 deaths)
  • Sauk – 3,637 cases (+24) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Sawyer - 921 cases (+5) (7 deaths)
  • Shawano – 3,723 cases (+16) (50 deaths) (+2)
  • Sheboygan – 9,254 cases (+72) (62 deaths) (+1)
  • St. Croix – 4,417 cases (+29) (21 deaths)
  • Taylor - 1,222 cases (+17) (10 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 2,451 cases (+39) (22 deaths) (+5)
  • Vernon – 1,171 cases (+11) (12 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,287 cases (+21) (13 deaths)
  • Walworth – 6,127 cases (+46) (53 deaths)
  • Washburn – 726 cases (+8) (5 deaths)
  • Washington – 9,059 cases (+154) (72 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 26,945 cases (+272) (210 deaths) (+7)
  • Waupaca – 3,715 cases (+14) (86 deaths)
  • Waushara – 1,758 cases (+3) (10 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 13,285 cases (+89) (117 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood – 4,371 cases (+115) (29 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 159 cases (1 death) (cases revised -1 by state)
  • Baraga - 419 cases (+5) (23 deaths) (+2)
  • Chippewa - 369 cases (+6) (6 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,256 cases (+28) (51 deaths) (+1)
  • Dickinson - 1,709 cases (+44) (39 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Gogebic - 597 cases (+13) (11 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,289 cases (+12) (11 deaths)
  • Iron – 701 cases (+8) (29 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 57 cases (1 death)
  • Luce – 118 cases
  • Mackinac - 220 cases (+4) (1 death)
  • Marquette - 2,650 cases (+22) (30 deaths)
  • Menominee - 1,241 cases (+24) (18 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 256 cases (+4) (13 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft - 164 cases (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.

You can watch the full DHS briefing below.

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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