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Coronavirus in Wisconsin: 1 in 3 tests positive; 9 deaths

The 7-day averages in cases and deaths are roughly half what they were a month ago
(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 2:00 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 4, 2021 at 3:50 PM CST
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MADISON Wis. (WBAY) – The number of people being tested or testing positive for the coronavirus for the first time reached a four-month low. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported 3,912 test results on Monday -- the least since 3,818 results received August 31.

More than 1 in 3 tests came back positive, for a total 1,407 new cases. That’s the third time in four days there were fewer than 2,000 positive tests, but the percent that came back positive is much higher than the 5% health officials want to see to indicate the novel virus is getting under control. Another 2,505 people tested negative.

New cases were reported in 65 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. The exceptions were Florence, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Lafayette, Pepin and Price counties.

Nine more people were added to the COVID-19 death toll, bringing that to 4,884 total deaths since March. The deaths were reported in six counties: Eau Claire (2), Iowa, La Crosse (2), Milwaukee, Sawyer and Winnebago (2).

Case and death numbers for Wisconsin counties listed by the DHS appear later in this article.

Wisconsin is creeping up on half a million confirmed cases and 5,000 COVID-19 deaths. We could hit each of these milestones late this week or next week, but consider a month ago we were on pace to hit 500,000 cases by December 27 and 5,000 deaths on December 30. Although testing dipped during the holiday season, the 7-day averages for cases and deaths are roughly half what they were one month ago.

DateTotal cases7-day averageTotal deaths7-day average
One month ago (Dec. 4)404,5554,103/day3,62553/day
Today (Jan. 4)487,9382,255/day4,88425/day

The state says 2,853,618 people have been tested for COVID-19. That’s equivalent to 49% of the state’s population tested in 11 months since the first coronavirus patient in Wisconsin was diagnosed in Madison on February 5, 2020 (see related story).

So far, 456,529 of these people (93.6%) have recovered, though the DHS acknowledges some who fit the broad definition may be suffering lingering effects from the disease. Another 26,389 (5.4%) are active cases -- meaning they were diagnosed in the past 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared.

The Wisconsin National Guard reports it will perform its one millionth COVID-19 test this week. The National Guard has been collecting specimens at community-based testing sites around the state since April, as well as senior living facilities, correctional facilities and some health care facilities. To find community testing sites near you, contact your local health department or visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/community-testing.htm.

The DHS also reports numbers for people tested multiple times, such as health care workers or patients being treated for COVID-19. These reports are always at least a day behind; they’re very preliminary and include negative tests undergoing further review and take about two weeks to finalize. By these measures, the DHS reports 2,783 tests completed Sunday, including 881 that were positive, and the 7-day positivity rate was on the rise at 31%.

We emphasize that reporting one result per person rather than multiple tests is how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles its own reports and is considered a better indicator of the spread of the virus in the community.

Hospitalizations

The state reports 51 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last 24-hour period. To date, 21,580 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since February, which is 4.4% of all coronavirus cases -- a percentage that hasn’t changed in months. The seven-day average for hospitalizations fell for a third straight day to 96 patients per day, the lowest that average has been since October 7, according to our records.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported Monday there were 1,122 COVID-19 patients hospitalized Monday across the state, including 231 in intensive care.

Hospitalized24-hr changeICU24-hr change
Statewide1,122+53231+6
Fox Valley region
(8 counties, 13 hospitals)
60+14+2
Northeast region
(7 counties, 10 hospitals)
107+1128-1

Daily changes in hospital figures take new admissions, discharges and deaths into account.

The state’s alternate care facility reported no patients being treated at the field hospital and no patients receiving Bamlanivimab infusion therapy on Monday. The field hospital 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, or people who need outpatient drug therapy. As of Friday, when officials last updated this figure, 170 patients have been treated there since the facility opened on October 14.

Hospital Readiness

Monday, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported 262 ICU beds (17.9%) and 2,164 of all types of medical beds (19.4%) -- ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation -- were open in the state’s 134 hospitals.

In the Fox Valley region, 19 ICU beds (18.3%) and 127 of all medical beds (14.9%) were open among the 13 hospitals in those eight counties.

In the Northeast region, there were 13 ICU beds (6.3%) and 197 of all medical beds (20.6%) open among the 10 hospitals in seven counties.

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.

There’s no change from the WHA report for hospitals with less than a 7-day supply of PPE (personal protective equipment): 19 hospitals need gowns, 12 need paper medical masks, 10 need goggles, and 9 need N95 masks.

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

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 1,320 cases (+2) (11 deaths)
  • Ashland – 1,015 cases (+2) (16 deaths)
  • Barron – 4,549 cases (+15) (57 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 938 cases (+2) (18 deaths)
  • Brown – 26,467 cases (+4) (162 deaths)
  • Buffalo – 1,010 cases (+5) (7 deaths)
  • Burnett – 1,008 cases (+2) (19 deaths)
  • Calumet – 4,732 cases (+10) (35 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 6,004 cases (+32) (66 deaths)
  • Clark – 2,844 cases (+3) (51 deaths)
  • Columbia – 4,287 cases (+23) (32 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,562 cases (+2) (12 deaths)
  • Dane – 34,013 cases (+206) (182 deaths)
  • Dodge – 10,480 cases (+15) (125 deaths)
  • Door – 2,067 cases (+2) (13 deaths)
  • Douglas – 3,125 cases (+7) (17 deaths)
  • Dunn – 3,580 cases (+9) (24 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 9,427 cases (+52) (79 deaths) (+2)
  • Florence - 399 cases (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 10,612 cases (+107) (67 deaths)
  • Forest - 858 cases (22 deaths)
  • Grant – 4,158 cases (+17) (77 deaths)
  • Green – 2,373 cases (+8) (10 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,402 cases (+2) (10 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,689 cases (+11) (8 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron - 423 cases (18 deaths)
  • Jackson - 2,401 cases (+2) (18 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 6,758 cases (+26) (57 deaths)
  • Juneau - 2,507 cases (+7) (10 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 12,513 cases (+25) (217 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 2,084 cases (24 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 10,307 cases (+78) (58 deaths) (+2)
  • Lafayette - 1,253 cases (+3) (5 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,803 cases (+3) (30 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,506 cases (+32) (46 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 6,158 cases (+57) (51 deaths)
  • Marathon – 12,092 cases (+79) (160 deaths)
  • Marinette - 3,565 cases (+4) (45 deaths)
  • Marquette – 1,164 cases (+3) (18 deaths)
  • Menominee - 717 cases (+1) (10 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 85,745 (+218) (985 deaths) (+1)
  • Monroe – 3,510 cases (+13) (25 deaths)
  • Oconto – 3,843 cases (+14) (38 deaths)
  • Oneida - 2,831 cases (+1) (47 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 16,375 cases (+40) (159 deaths)
  • Ozaukee - 6,406 cases (+8) (51 deaths)
  • Pepin – 681 cases (5 deaths)
  • Pierce – 2,970 cases (+6) (30 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,107 cases (+5) (23 deaths)
  • Portage – 5,629 cases (+19) (52 deaths)
  • Price – 956 cases (5 deaths)
  • Racine – 17,823 cases (+8) (249 deaths)
  • Richland - 1,117 cases (+7) (13 deaths)
  • Rock – 12,327 cases (+38) (115 deaths)
  • Rusk - 1,116 cases (+1) (13 deaths)
  • Sauk – 4,553 cases (+8) (27 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 1,252 cases (+1) (12 deaths) (+1)
  • Shawano – 4,220 cases (+18) (57 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 11,483 cases (+59) (94 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 5,483 cases (+10) (28 deaths)
  • Taylor - 1,604 cases (+1) (14 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,026 cases (+19) (29 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,561 cases (+1) (30 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,617 cases (+8) (21 deaths)
  • Walworth – 7,755 cases (+34) (95 deaths)
  • Washburn – 1,046 cases (+1) (12 deaths)
  • Washington – 11,830 cases (+22) (97 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 34,541 cases (+176) (344 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 4,183 cases (+14) (98 deaths)
  • Waushara – 1,929 cases (+2) (17 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 15,320 cases (+14) (152 deaths) (+2)
  • Wood – 5,758 cases (+12) (48 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (reflects updates since Jan. 2)**

  • Alger - 195 cases (+5) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 472 cases (+13) (28 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 603 cases (+47) (12 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,503 cases (+29) (60 deaths)
  • Dickinson - 2,025 cases (+39) (54 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 712 cases (+4) (16 deaths) (+1)
  • Houghton – 1,610 cases (+28) (26 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron – 778 cases (+9) (32 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 75 cases (+8) (1 death)
  • Luce – 127 cases
  • Mackinac - 263 cases (+3) (3 deaths) (+1)
  • Marquette - 3,179 cases (+40) (51 deaths)
  • Menominee - 1,495 cases (+44) (25 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 278 cases (+1) (15 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft - 212 cases (+2) (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.

COVID-19 Tracing App

Wisconsin’s COVID-19 tracing app, “Wisconsin Exposure Notification,” is available 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.

COVID-19 Vaccine

As of Tuesday, December 29, the state says 47,157 COVID-19 vaccines out of the 156,875 vaccines shipped have been administered. The state started giving out the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14th, with 40,850 of them being administered so far. Moderna vaccinations started Dec. 22nd, and 6,306 of them have been administered. In addition, 29,000 doses will be allocated to vaccinating residents and staff members at long-term care facilities. The state is updating vaccine information at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm.

RELATED: Wisconsin starts vaccinating residents, staff in long-term care facilities with help of CVS Health

Wisconsin has also launched a COVID-19 vaccine data page that tracks the number of shots given out and shipped to the state. TRACK STATEWIDE VACCINE DATA HERE: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm

RELATED: Wisconsin launches COVID vaccine data page

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

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