Jeramey Jannene

281 COVID-19 Cases in Wisconsin, Four Deaths

Case count is lagging indicator of effectiveness of social distancing, other measures.

By - Mar 21st, 2020 01:54 pm
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A scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 viruses (in gold) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Image from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Rocky Mountain Laboratories (CC BY 2.0).

A scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 viruses (in gold) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus shown was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Image from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Rocky Mountain Laboratories (CC BY 2.0).

“Things will get worse before they get better,” said Governor Tony Evers on Friday afternoon. “The fight against COVID-19 will not be easy.”

Statewide data, released daily by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, continues to bear that out.

Wisconsin has 281 positive cases of COVID-19, up 75 from yesterday’s total of 206. A total of 4628 negative tests have been processed statewide, up 1,173 from yesterday’s total of 3,455.

The statewide death toll from COVID-19 reached four on Saturday morning. The fourth case was the second in Milwaukee County, a 69-year-old male who was visiting Milwaukee from another state. He was hospitalized on March 14th and had multiple “significant” medical conditions.

“This has been hard, and I’m sorry to say we do expect this situation to worsen,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm on Friday.

Despite the fact that the daily growth rate of the number of positive tests continues to increase that does not mean measures like social distancing aren’t working. “I want to say again and deliver this simple message: ‘stay at home,'” said Evers.

Evers and Palm continue to expand the breadth of emergency orders, including issuing an updated order Friday afternoon that shutters hair salons, tattoo parlors and nail salons.

They also caution that anyone can get the illness. Milwaukee County data shows that over half of the positive cases are in individuals aged 20 to 49.

The moves are part of an effort to “flatten the curve,” a strategy designed to slow the spread of the disease in order to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. But the effectiveness of those orders will take days, if not weeks, to appear because of how the disease can easily spread without individuals showing symptoms.

Palm told the media Friday that the state, primarily through private hospitals, has 2,500 beds in intensive care units and 620 ventilators. “Hospitals are planning and preparing for this. They are looking at how they can convert other beds in the hospital for this purpose,” said Palm.

The state expects to receive more ventilators, used to support a patient’s breathing, but officials are still concerned about the availability. General Motors announced Saturday it is partnering with Ventec Life Systems to begin producing ventilators. Other companies, like General Electric, are working to scale up their production.

Disease Spreading Across State

A total of 29 of the state’s 72 counties have confirmed cases, the same number as Friday. The Department of Health Services believes it’s only a matter of time before cases are found in every county.

“As testing expands, as this evolves, you’re going to see cases all across the state of Wisconsin,” said Palm. “Counties all across the state should expect to see cases.”

Wisconsin COVID-19 Test Results

Test Results Number of People as of 3/21/2020
Negative 4628
Positive 281
Deaths 4

Number of Positive Results by County

Wisconsin County Total Cases as of 3/21/2020 Total Deaths as of 3/21/2020
Bayfield 1 0
Brown* 3 0
Calumet 1 0
Chippewa 1 0
Columbia* 5 0
Dane* 49 0
Douglas 1 0
Dunn 1 0
Eau Claire 2 0
Fond du Lac 15 1
Green 1 0
Jefferson 1 0
Kenosha* 5 0
La Crosse 5 0
Marathon 1 0
Milwaukee* 126 2
Outagamie 2 0
Ozaukee 11 1
Pierce 1 0
Racine 4 0
Rock 3 0
Sauk 2 0
Sheboygan 6 0
St. Croix 2 0
Walworth 3 0
Washington 3 0
Waukesha* 20 0
Winnebago 5 0
Wood 1 0
Total 281 4

* An asterisk indicates community spread has been identified.

Social Distancing Outdoors

DHS is recommending people go outside, but maintain a distance of six feet from others. “It’s okay to go outside,” reads an infographic posted to Twitter by the department. Suggested activities include taking a walk, going for a run, riding your bike or playing your backyard.

Categories: Health

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