State reports low amount of new coronavirus cases, deaths on Christmas Day
MADISON Wis. (WBAY) – As families celebrate Christmas across the state of Wisconsin, officials with the state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) report another 1,506 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19. The newly confirmed cases make up 17.48% of all the new test results released Friday. According to our records, that’s the lowest the figure has been since November 27, when it was 13.27%.
Friday’s new case numbers from the DHS show the number of new cases below 2,000 in a single day for the third time this week, as well as the third time this month. In all of November, there was only one day where the state reported fewer than 2,000 new cases of the virus, which was November 27th - the day after Thanksgiving, when many testing sites had been closed for the holiday.
In addition, five new COVID-19 deaths were reported by state officials on Christmas Day. That’s the fewest COVID-19 deaths reported in a single 24-hour period since November 22, when none were reported.
The state reported out of the 8,615 test results released Friday, the other 7,109 tests were negative for the virus.
The seven-day average of new cases continues to decline and is now at 2,318. The 14-day average is at 2,710.
Five deaths were reported by state health officials Friday, bringing Wisconsin’s cumulative death toll to 4,679 since the first deaths were reported in March. Earlier this week, the state says a one-day record of 120 deaths were reported Tuesday.
The 7-day average for COVID-19 deaths dropped to 52 after holding steady at 60 for the past three days. State officials say the death rate is still at 1.0% -- 1 out of 100 coronavirus cases resulting in death. Before Thursday, the death rate had been below 1.0% since October 9.
Case and death numbers for Wisconsin counties listed by the Wisconsin DHS are later in this article.
To date, 467,899 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Wisconsin. The DHS says the number of active cases is down to 31,690 people, which is 6.8% of all known cases. There are 431,428 people (92.2%) who are considered recovered. A person is considered recovered if it’s been 30 days since their diagnosis or onset of symptoms or were medically cleared, though some may feel lingering effects from their infection.
Another 56 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, according to the DHS on Friday. To date, 20,703 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since February 5, which is 4.4% of all coronavirus cases.
The Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) reports Friday that 1,070 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, with 238 in ICU. On Thursday, the WHA reported 1,150 people were hospitalized across the state, showing a one day drop of 80 people. That’s the fewest in the hospital at one time since October 15, and the fewest in the ICU since October 11. Daily changes in hospitalizations take new admissions, discharges and deaths into account.
The alternate care facility at the state fairgrounds helps relieve the strain on state hospitals by treating patients who are close to being discharged but still need some care, such as oxygen. State health officials say as of last Friday it’s treated 168 patients since it opened on October 14. As of 11 a.m. on Christmas Day, there were no current patients at the facility.
For hospital readiness, the WHA reports Friday that 302 ICU beds (20.6%) and 2,492 of all types of medical beds (22.3%) -- ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation -- are open in the state’s 134 hospitals. These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19, and whether a bed can be filled depends on whether the hospital has the necessary medical and support staff.
In the Fox Valley region, 15 ICU beds (14.42%) and 116 of all medical beds (13.59%) open among the 13 hospitals in those eight counties.
In the Northeast region, 56 ICU beds (27.05%) and 292 of all medical beds (30.54%) are open among the 10 hospitals in seven counties.
The WHA reported no change from Thursday for hospitals with less than a 7-day supply of PPE (personal protective equipment): 19 hospitals need gowns, 14 need paper medical masks, 10 need goggles, and 7 need N95 masks.
COVID-19 Tracing App
Wisconsin’s COVID-19 tracing app, “Wisconsin Exposure Notification,” became available Wednesday for iOS and Android smartphones. No download is required for iPhones. The Android app is available on Google Play. When two phones with the app (and presumably their owners) are close enough, for long enough, they’ll anonymously share a random string of numbers via Bluetooth. If someone tests positive for the coronavirus, they’ll receive a code to type into the app. If your phones “pinged” each other in the last 14 days, you’ll receive a push notification that you are at risk of exposure. The app doesn’t collect personal information or location information, so you won’t know from whom or where, but you will be told what day the exposure might have occurred so that you can quarantine for the appropriate amount of time.
COVID-19 Home Testing
Gov. Tony Evers announced at-home COVID-19 testing kits will be made available -- for free -- to anyone who wants them. A person can test themselves or family members, even if they don’t have symptoms, then send it to a lab for testing. The Vault Medical Services kit is the first saliva test to get emergency-use authorization from the FDA and normally costs $119. CLICK HERE for details and a link to request a test kit.
Evers said Monday that hospitals and clinics in Wisconsin are expecting shipments of the Moderna vaccine this week. It’s the second COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency-use authorization from the FDA. Frontline health care workers began receiving the Pfizer vaccine last week. Wisconsin expects an initial shipment of 16,000 doses, and ultimately 100,000 doses in the coming weeks. The governor says 29,000 doses will be allocated to vaccinating residents and staff members at long-term care facilities beginning December 28. The state is updating vaccine information at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm.
FRIDAY’S COUNTY CASE NUMBERS (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold)*
- Adams – 1,279 cases (+4) (10 deaths)
- Ashland – 971 cases (+5) (14 deaths)
- Barron – 4,366 cases (+24) (55 deaths)
- Bayfield - 902 cases (+5) (18 deaths)
- Brown – 25,565 cases (+7) (160 deaths)
- Buffalo – 954 cases (6 deaths)
- Burnett – 971 cases (+2) (19 deaths)
- Calumet – 4,578 cases (+8) (34 deaths)
- Chippewa – 5,728 cases (+1) (65 deaths)
- Clark – 2,728 cases (+20) (48 deaths)
- Columbia – 4,101 cases (+36) (28 deaths)
- Crawford – 1,531 cases (+6) (12 deaths) (+1)
- Dane – 32,374 cases (+161) (176 deaths) (+2)
- Dodge – 10,236 cases (+71) (114 deaths)
- Door - 1,939 cases (13 deaths)
- Douglas – 2,972 cases (+30) (16 deaths)
- Dunn – 3,389 cases (22 deaths)
- Eau Claire – 9,000 cases (+25) (74 deaths) (+1)
- Florence - 391 cases (12 deaths)
- Fond du Lac – 10,143 cases (+42) (64 deaths)
- Forest - 824 cases (+3) (22 deaths)
- Grant – 4,020 cases (+7) (77 deaths)
- Green – 2,242 cases (+27) (8 deaths)
- Green Lake - 1,371 cases (+1) (10 deaths)
- Iowa - 1,629 cases (+5) (5 deaths)
- Iron - 411 cases (13 deaths)
- Jackson - 2,310 cases (+9) (16 deaths) (+1)
- Jefferson – 6,418 cases (+43) (57 deaths)
- Juneau - 2,376 cases (+7) (10 deaths)
- Kenosha – 11,923 cases (+45) (210 deaths) (+1)
- Kewaunee - 1,995 cases (24 deaths)
- La Crosse – 9,776 cases (+41) (54 deaths)
- Lafayette - 1,213 cases (+5) (5 deaths)
- Langlade - 1,762 cases (+7) (30 deaths)
- Lincoln – 2,378 cases (+12) (41 deaths)
- Manitowoc – 5,908 cases (+20) (50 deaths)
- Marathon – 11,607 cases (+50) (153 deaths)
- Marinette - 3,476 cases (+8) (42 deaths)
- Marquette – 1,134 cases (18 deaths)
- Menominee - 700 cases (10 deaths)
- Milwaukee – 82,716 (+282) (955 deaths)
- Monroe – 3,357 cases (+27) (23 deaths)
- Oconto – 3,678 cases (+13) (37 deaths)
- Oneida - 2,751 cases (+17) (47 deaths)
- Outagamie – 15,752 cases (+58) (155 deaths)
- Ozaukee - 6,081 cases (49 deaths)
- Pepin – 631 cases (5 deaths)
- Pierce – 2,842 cases (+16) (28 deaths) (+1)
- Polk – 2,937 cases (+23) (22 deaths)
- Portage – 5,404 cases (+25) (47 deaths)
- Price – 909 cases (+2) (5 deaths)
- Racine – 16,876 cases (+1) (246 deaths)
- Richland - 1,057 cases (+12) (13 deaths)
- Rock – 11,700 cases (+62) (110 deaths)
- Rusk - 1,082 cases (+10) (11 deaths)
- Sauk – 4,369 cases (+39) (27 deaths)
- Sawyer - 1,164 cases (+4) (10 deaths)
- Shawano – 4,105 cases (+17) (56 deaths) (State revised, decrease of 1)
- Sheboygan – 11,077 cases (+51) (91 deaths)
- St. Croix – 5,335 cases (+3) (28 deaths)
- Taylor - 1,558 cases (+3) (14 deaths)
- Trempealeau – 2,885 cases (+2) (28 deaths)
- Vernon – 1,468 cases (+17) (22 deaths)
- Vilas - 1,554 cases (+13) (21 deaths)
- Walworth – 7,426 cases (85 deaths)
- Washburn – 987 cases (+3) (11 deaths)
- Washington – 11,266 cases (93 deaths)
- Waukesha – 33,154 cases (+39) (327 deaths)
- Waupaca – 4,037 cases (+8) (96 deaths)
- Waushara – 1,891 cases (+3) (14 deaths)
- Winnebago – 14,812 cases (+7) (148 deaths)
- Wood – 5,447 cases (+13) (40 deaths)
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (These are the latest numbers from Wednesday – the state’s health department isn’t issuing new COVID-19 case numbers until Saturday due to the Christmas holiday) **
- Alger - 185 cases (1 death)
- Baraga - 452 cases (28 deaths)
- Chippewa - 515 cases (11 deaths)
- Delta – 2,450 cases (58 deaths)
- Dickinson - 1,945 cases (53 deaths)
- Gogebic - 700 cases (15 deaths)
- Houghton – 1,555 cases (24 deaths)
- Iron – 757 cases (32 deaths)
- Keweenaw – 63 cases (1 death)
- Luce – 126 cases
- Mackinac - 254 cases (2 deaths)
- Marquette - 3,071 cases (49 deaths)
- Menominee - 1,406 cases (25 deaths)
- Ontonagon – 274 cases (14 deaths)
- Schoolcraft - 195 cases (3 deaths)
* Cases and deaths are from the daily DHS COVID-19 reports, which may differ from local health department numbers. 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. They 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these as possible symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- 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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