State Officials Predict Worsening Outbreak With No Behavior Changes
Weekly totals for cases, hospitalizations and deaths all set all-time highs.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 5,096 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 from 18,692 processed tests on Friday afternoon.
“The President has said we’re rounding the corner. There is little data to support that,” said Governor Tony Evers Friday morning in imploring Wisconsin residents to stay home whenever possible and limit their social circle to their own household for the time being.
Besides a call for people to mind their personal health to limit the virus’ effects and its spread, Evers has a simple message for those that must go out.
“People have to wear a freaking mask, simple as that,” said the Governor.
Officials have looked for the positive case rate to trend downward to indicate a slowing spread of disease and sufficient testing. Multiple public health benchmarks call for the positive case rate figure to be sustained under five percent.
A record 29,614 Wisconsin residents have tested positive for the disease in the past week. Since the pandemic began 220,092 people have tested positive.
“In these two months, our seven-day average has increased by more than 500 percent,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm of the surge in cases.
Lagging indicators of the disease’s spread continue to set new highs, while state health officials warn that hospitalization and death surges are connected to earlier record case reports.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer of the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, called it a “nightmare scenario” during a Tuesday afternoon press briefing.
Friday morning he expressed dismay with how things are going.
“Personally and frankly I am surprised and disappointed that we have failed as much as we have to slow the virus. I say that because it is important to understand that there is still time to turn this around,” said Westergaard.
He said left unchecked the virus would infect 70 to 80 percent of Wisconsin residents. “It’s probably fewer than 10% of Wisconsin residents that have been infected,” said Westergaard, estimating those with confirmed and unconfirmed cases.
“I think it’s so important we understand we can turn the corner,” he said. “If we don’t do that it would not be surprising for numbers to continue to get worse.”
In the meantime, the numbers continue to get worse.
The state reported that 142 people were newly hospitalized in the past 24 hours. A total of 11,145 people have required hospitalization since the outbreak began, 1,107 in the past week.
A record eight patients are in the Alternate Care Facility in West Allis.
DHS reported 24 deaths Friday. A total of 1,972 Wisconsin residents have died as a result of the virus, including 585 in Milwaukee County. Officials confirmed Tuesday that the total includes only people where a medical examiner determined the disease was a contributing factor in the death.
An average of 21.5 deaths per day have been reported over the past 30 days, the second-highest total on record beyond yesterday’s 21.6. Thirty days ago the figure stood at 7.27.
Westergaard said the case fatality rate has fallen because of a broadening age distribution in those who contract the virus. “Anyone who is infected can become severely ill,” he said, noting that death wasn’t the only negative outcome. “I think the short lesson is deaths are on the rise because cases on the rise.”
Since September, Milwaukee County has gone from having the worst per-capita outbreak to the 15th worst in the state, even as its case and hospitalization load has surged to record levels.
Menominee County has recorded 7,576.4 cases per 100,000 residents (up from 7,188.5). Shawano County has recorded 6,226.4 cases per 100,000 residents (up from 6,073.7). Brown, Oconto, Kewaunee, Calumet, Forest, Winnebago, Langlade, Outagamie, Dodge, Florence, Waupaca and Fond du Lac counties are the remaining counties leading Milwaukee.
According to DHS data, 4,416.4 out of every 100,000 Milwaukee County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began (up from 4,371.9).
The statewide average of cases per 100,000 residents rose to 3,807.1 (up from 3,719). Wisconsin has recorded a per-capita rate of 891.7 cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks according to the DHS activity level report released Wednesday.
Charts and Maps
Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by gender
Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by race
Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by ethnicity
Cases and deaths by county
|Number of confirmed cases||Number of negatives*||Number of probable cases||Number of deaths †||Number of probable deaths ‡||Cases per 100,000 people (counties)||Deaths per 100,000 people (counties)||Case fatality percentage ††|
|Fond du Lac||4,817||29,609||153||20||0||4,659.80||19.3||0.40%|
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