MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) -
Wisconsin health officials now say 1,730 people in the state tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 31 people have died.
More than half of the deaths (16) were in Milwaukee County, which is hardest hit by the disease.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, state infectious disease specialist, says cases are doubling every four days -- but early projections had cases doubling every 2 days, which has Westergaard optimistic the governor's Safer at Home order is working. That order took effect eight days ago, shutting down non-essential businesses and requiring bars and restaurants to allow only take-out or delivery service, among other changes.
State Health and Human Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm says the rising number of cases we're seeing right now are mostly from before the Safer at Home order was issued. She emphasized people need to continue taking the Safer at Home order seriously.
The state says 461 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized during their treatment, which is more than 1 in 5.
More than 20,000 tests on suspected COVID-19 symptoms came back negative.
The DHS provided the following breakdown by county on Thursday, April 2:
Adams - 1 (new to the list)
Ashland - 1
Bayfield - 3
Brown - 17
Buffalo - 2
Calumet - 3
Chippewa - 11
Clark - 6
Columbia - 15
Crawford - 1
Dane - 228 (3 deaths)
Dodge - 13
Door - 2
Douglas - 6
Dunn - 3
Eau Claire - 14
Fond du Lac - 28 (2 deaths)
Grant - 2
Green - 7
Iowa - 3
Iron - 1 (fatal)
Jackson - 2
Jefferson - 12
Juneau - 4
Kenosha - 67
La Crosse - 19
Marathon - 8
Marinette - 2
Marquette - 2
Menominee - 1
Milwaukee - 869 (16 deaths)
Monroe - 3
Oconto - 1
Oneida - 3
Outagamie - 14
Ozaukee 47 (3 deaths)
Pierce - 7
Portage - 2
Racine - 35
Richland - 2
Rock - 19 (1 death)
Sauk - 16 (2 deaths)
Sheboygan - 16 (1 death)
St. Croix - 6
Trempealeau - 1 (new to the list)
Vilas - 3
Walworth - 15
Washington - 46
Waukesha - 120 (1 death)
Waupaca - 2 (1 death)
Winnebago - 17
Wood - 2
CLICK HERE to track the Wisconsin outbreak by county.
There are 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, according to new figures Thursday from the Michigan Public Health Department. Dickinson County joined the list with 1 case.
Chippewa - 1
Delta - 4
Dickinson - 1
Gogebic - 3 (1 death)
Houghton - 1
Mackinac - 1
Marquette - 5
Counties in WBAY's viewing area continued reporting more confirmed cases of COVID-19 before the state numbers came out.
Thursday afternoon, Brown County updated numbers it had just released hours earlier, saying there are 5 new cases of COVID-19. Two are from Oneida Nation, including a 22-year-old man who is now the county's youngest patient. This brings the county's total to 17 cases.
One of the five patients worked in a health care facility but did not have direct contact with patients, having more of an administrative role, Brown County Environmental Health Manager Ted Shove said.
One of the patients recently traveled to Europe. The 65-year-old woman is hospitalized and isolated. At least two other cases are believed to be from community spread. One had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.
One man took 3 weeks to get his test results back -- it's not clear why it took so long -- and now longer shows symptoms of the disease (Brown County, like many other counties and the state, do not track "recovered" patients because there is no benchmark for recovery).
Winnebago County Public Health said it had four additional cases to report since the state's numbers were released Wednesday. People in their 50's account for the most (31%), while people in their 40's are the next-hardest hit, making up 19% of cases in that county.
The Menasha Health Department reported the first COVID-19 case in the city Wednesday. That person is quarantined at home.
Door County reported an additional case Wednesday -- its second. The public health department says both are residents of the county. One traveled outside of the state recently, the other traveled to surrounding counties. Both have been isolated since they were tested.
[Action 2 News is now reporting the total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths as listed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. We are aware that counties separately report numbers that would make these totals higher. To maintain consistency and accuracy, we will continue to report the statewide totals.]
The state and most county health officials do not report the number of patients who recovered, explaining that there is no benchmark for recovery. The DHS says patients who seem to get better but have a relapse are not tested again.
Physical distance and voluntary isolation
Brown County Environmental Health Manager Ted Shove emphasized the need to physically distance yourself from others, particularly people you aren't familiar with or show flu-like symptoms such as a dry cough or confusion. He said two of the three most recent patients were showing symptoms for a couple of days, such as coughing, fever, chills, body aches and moments of confusion but didn't isolate themselves from others. Brown County health investigators are reaching out to people who might have had contact with them and the managers of businesses they might have visited to ensure a thorough cleaning.
Shove says Brown County has arranged for several voluntary isolation centers that could be opened within a few hours or a few days if needed, but so far the county has only opened one. Two days ago, we were told a few people were taking advantage of it. Voluntary isolation facilities in Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee let people self-quarantine if they show COVID-19 symptoms and get a referral from a doctor, and someone checks on them by phone every 4 hours during the day (see related story).
Demographics were unchanged from Wednesday's report. According to the DHS:
Statewide, 52% of patients are female and 48% are male.
Children and young adults under 20: 1%
Adults in their 20's: 12%
90 and older: 1%
Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, people of all ages can contract the illness and they can suffer serious symptoms.
Spreading the disease
The coronavirus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
"The virus is found in droplets from the throat and nose. When someone coughs or sneezes, other people near them can breathe in those droplets. The virus can also spread when someone touches an object with the virus on it. If that person touches their mouth, face, or eyes the virus can make them sick," says the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
People infected with the virus can develop the respiratory disease named COVID-19.
COVID-19 symptoms and prevention
Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. CLICK HERE for more information on symptoms. Emergency signs include pain and pressure in the chest, confusion and bluish lips or face.
The CDC believes symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after contact with an infected person.
VISIT wbay.com/coronavirus for complete local, national and international coverage of the outbreak.
DHS recommends taking these steps to help stop the spread of the virus:
- Stay at home
- --Limit your physical interactions with people
- Keep at least six feet apart from others
- Frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water
- Make essential trips no more than once a week
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Avoiding touching your face
The virus originated in Wuhan, China. The spread started in December 2019.
Why we are reporting the state confirmed numbers from this point forward: "All data are laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 that we freeze once a day to verify and ensure that we are reporting accurate information," reads a statement from the Wisconsin DHS. "These numbers are the official state numbers, though counties may report their own totals independent of DHS. Combining the DHS and local totals may result in inaccurate totals."