State Has One-Day Drop in COVID-19 Tests
For first time in a week, the growth rate of new cases, positive and negative, slows.
One day after the daily increase in COVID-19 hit 100 for the first time, the Department of Health Services reported that rate of processed tests, both positive and negative, went down.
There are now 416 positive cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
There were 381 positive cases reported as of Sunday afternoon, an increase of 100 over Saturday. Monday’s increase of 35 cases marks the first time the daily increase has gone down since last Monday, March 16th.
On Sunday, the state reported 6,230 individuals testing negative. Monday the state reported that total had increased by 820 to 7,050. The state had reported over 1,200 negative tests per day for the three days prior.
In response to a question from Urban Milwaukee on the day-over-day total slowing, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm, who previously said she receives the numbers as she enters the briefing room, seemed to believe the testing capacity had increased. “Is it a sign of our expanding capacity,” said Palm of the latest results.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases, offered a different answer in response to another outlet’s question on the growth rate’s one day decline and why that could be. “We haven’t heard it’s because of testing limitations,” said Westergaard. “In fact, our capacity to do testing is higher.”
A combination of public and private labs process the results and officials, including Palm and Westergaard, had previously warned that the supply chain for testing supplies was fragile.
The state and other labs are still rationing tests based on severity and if the individual is a healthcare worker.
Individuals, including Palm, have advocated a “flatten the curve” strategy designed to slow the spread of the disease to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.
That’s why the state is issuing a “safer at home” order. “This is a necessary step to slow the spread of the disease,” said Palm.
Who Needs Hospitalization?
Westergaard said he doesn’t have the exact number of cases requiring hospitalization, but at the time of diagnosis approximately 10 percent of cases have required hospitalization. UPDATE: This was corrected to 20 percent on Tuesday.
DHS previously reported that there are approximately 2,500 intensive care unit beds in Wisconsin and 620 ventilators.
No More Details on Stay at Home Order
“Here is the bottom line, folks need to start taking this seriously,” said Evers. “Today I am announcing we will be issuing a safer at home order tomorrow.” He said additional details would be announced Tuesday.
Evers had previously said he didn’t expect to issue a stay at home order.
Why the change the heart? “This is not something I felt strongly that we needed to do, but since I have had communication regularly with our great healthcare staff as well as other medical and healthcare professionals they have significantly suggested to me that this is the best way to curb the virus, that we’re not getting to the point we wanted to be,” said Evers. “I have had many conversations with folks across the state, both local people and business folks, that have convinced me that this is the right thing to do.”
Protective Supplies Incoming, But Will They Be Enough?
Major General Paul Knapp of the Wisconsin National Guard joined the briefing call to provide an update on the availability of protective personal equipment (PPE) and the Guard’s effort to distribute.
The Wisconsin National Guard is launching a PPE buyback and donation program. “We have created a website that should be live within the next 48 hours,” said Knapp. “We are willing to buy back PPE from businesses that have closed as a result of the outbreak.” The state will also accept donations.
The supplies will be distributed to care facilities, healthcare workers and first responders.
The state has already received 54,709 respirators, 130,326 surgical masks, 24,816 face shields, 20,233 surgical gowns, 104 coveralls and 72,044 pairs of gloves from a federal emergency stockpile.
It has requested more from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). “That is exclusively for our law enforcement officers and firefighters,” said Evers of the request. He said the state will continue to seek more supplies.
Wisconsin COVID-19 Test Results
|Test Results||Number of People as of 3/23/2020|
Number of Positive Results by County
|Wisconsin County||Total Cases as of 3/23/2020||Total Deaths as of 3/23/2020|
|Fond du Lac*||16||1|
* An asterisk indicates community spread has been identified.
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