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Wisconsin adds 42 COVID-19 deaths, 2nd highest one-day total

Wisconsin crossed the milestone of 10,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 2:08 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 4:52 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - After a day when key metrics went down, Wisconsin’s coronavirus crisis worsened again Friday in the latest Department of Health Services report with 42 deaths -- the 2nd highest one-day total on record -- and 4,378 more confirmed coronavirus cases. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 crossed 10,000.

Wisconsin has now seen 1,745 people die from the disease caused by the coronavirus, which is 112 more people than 3 days ago. The death rate held steady for a third day at 0.92% of all coronavirus cases in the state after a slight rise from 0.91% earlier this week.

Marathon County reported 5 deaths. Oconto, Outagamie and Milwaukee counties each reported 4. Chippewa County reported 3 deaths. Brown, Clark, Lincoln, Rock, Sheboygan, Waukesha and Waupaca counties reported 2 deaths each. Iron, Langlade, Price, Racine, St. Croix, Vernon and Winnebago counties reported 1 death each.

Price County’s first COVID-19 related death leaves three Wisconsin counties that have not had a COVID-19 death.

POSITIVE CASES

The 4,378 new cases is also the second-highest on record, but this week’s records come with an asterisk because the state upgraded its medical reporting systems last weekend which put the state behind on entering new, positive cases. The 17,804 total tests in the state’s report Friday is close to the one-day record of 18,138 tests back on August 4. The positivity rate of 24.59% is in line with the percentage of positive tests we saw last Thursday and Friday before the system was taken down (24.65 and 26.47%, respectively).

New cases were reported in all 72 Wisconsin counties.

This is the ninth straight report with more than 3,000 coronavirus cases. Wisconsin is averaging 4,036 new coronavirus cases every day in the last 7 reports.

The state reports the positivity rate’s 7-day average fell from its all-time high 23.0% Thursday to 22.7% on Friday.

The positivity rate including multiple tests of the same people is also on a decline to 11.9% after peaking at 12.2% earlier this week. Action 2 News will continue to emphasize the state’s summary statistics counting each person once no matter how many times they’re tested. This is the standard method used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its federal reporting and is a better indication of the spread of the coronavirus in a community. For data including all of the results for people tested multiple times, visit the DHS website.

County-by-county numbers are listed later in this article.

ACTIVE CASES

The percentage of active cases is also falling despite the number of newly diagnosed cases right now. There are 39,163 people who are considered active, meaning they were diagnosed within the past 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. That’s 20.6% of all known coronavirus cases. The state says almost 150,000 people (149,534) are considered recovered.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

The state reports 183 people were hospitalized for COVID-19, which also ranks 2nd highest for any 24 hour period, behind the record 218 hospitalizations Tuesday.

Wisconsin set a new record for current hospitalizations, now at 331 patients in intensive care and 1,243 hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment overall, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA).

Since the first patient in Madison on February 5, 10,038 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment. The 7-day average is up to 164 patients per day, a new high. The rate of hospitalization for people diagnosed with the coronavirus holds steady at 5.3%.

Thursday a second patient was admitted to the alternate care facility (ACF) set up at the Wisconsin State Fair Park near Milwaukee. The facility opened a week ago with the intent of handling an overflow at hospitals around the state by receiving patients who are closer to discharge but not quite healthy enough, to make room for people with more serious conditions. To protect patient privacy, the DHS doesn’t say where patients are from.

HOSPITAL READINESS

In terms of hospital readiness, Friday’s report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association says 15.3% of ICU beds and 16.4% of all medical beds are open.

In the Fox Valley Region, with 13 hospitals serving 8 counties, there are 116 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, 11 fewer than Thursday, with 19 in ICU, 2 fewer than Thursday. Eight ICU beds are open, which is 7.7%, and 126 beds total (14.8%).

The Northeast Region’s 10 hospitals serving 7 counties are caring for 173 COVID-19 patients, 3 more than Thursday, including 57 in ICU, 6 more than Thursday. The region has 22 ICU beds open (10.6%) and 185 open beds total (19.4%).

Day-to-day changes take hospital discharges and deaths into account.

Prevea CEO/president Dr. Ashok Rai cautioned on Action 2 News This Morning last week that an open bed isn’t necessarily an available bed if the hospital doesn’t have the staffing to support a patient in it (see related story). For this reason, we’re using the term “open” more frequently than “available,” even though that’s the WHA’s terminology.

WHERE DOES COVID-19 RANK?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that COVID-19 was a factor in 9.15% of all deaths in the United States from February 1 through October 17. At the time of this writing Friday afternoon, Johns Hopkins University said 223,381 COVID-19 related deaths were reported in the United States. For comparison we’ve inserted that figure into the CDC’s leading causes of deaths in 2017, the latest comprehensive report available, and, below that, statistics on the leading causes of death in Wisconsin in 2018 from the National Center for Health Statistics which echoes the national rankings.

As you can see in these charts, COVID-19 compares to the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 7th leading cause of death in Wisconsin -- in both cases deadlier than the flu and pneumonia. Keep in mind with these numbers, COVID-19 has not been in the U.S. or Wisconsin for a full year.

RankLeading causes of death in the United States (2017)Deaths
1Diseases of heart647,457
2Malignant neoplasms (cancer)599,108
-Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)223,381
3Accidents (unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes)169,936
4Chronic lower respiratory diseases160,201
5Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)146,383
6Alzheimer disease121,404
7Diabetes mellitus (diabetes)83,564
8Influenza and pneumonia55,672
9Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis (kidney disease)50,633
10Intentional self-harm (suicide)47,173
RankLeading causes of death in Wisconsin (2018)Deaths
1Heart disease12,061
2Cancer11,457
3Accidents3,786
4Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases2,866
5Stroke2,549
6Alzheimer disease2,453
-COVID-191,703
7Diabetes1,508
8Influenza/pneumonia1,075
9Kidney disease914
10Suicide888

FRIDAY’S COUNTY CASE NUMBERS (counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold)

Wisconsin

  • Adams - 435 cases (+10) (4 deaths)
  • Ashland - 256 cases (+5) (3 deaths)
  • Barron - 931 cases (+36) (6 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 200 cases (+8) (1 death)
  • Brown - 14,270 cases (+304) (89 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo - 235 cases (+9) (3 deaths)
  • Burnett - 292 cases (+6) (6 deaths)
  • Calumet - 2,520 cases (+68) (11 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 1,318 cases (+39) (10 deaths) (+3)
  • Clark – 767 cases (+29) (16 deaths) (+2)
  • Columbia – 1,610 cases (+35) (5 deaths)
  • Crawford – 311 cases (+3)
  • Dane – 13,555 cases (+240) (47 deaths)
  • Dodge – 3,473 cases (+94) (24 deaths)
  • Door - 723 cases (+28) (4 deaths)
  • Douglas - 726 cases (+11) (1 death)
  • Dunn - 972 cases (+43) (1 death)
  • Eau Claire - 2,941 cases (+91) (12 deaths)
  • Florence - 200 cases (+2) (6 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 3,953 cases (+118) (19 deaths)
  • Forest - 430 cases (+13) (10 deaths)
  • Grant – 1,727 cases (+39) (28 deaths)
  • Green - 883 cases (+28) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 675 cases (+22) (2 deaths)
  • Iowa - 417 cases (+10) (1 death)
  • Iron - 178 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Jackson - 342 cases (+16) (1 death)
  • Jefferson - 2,446 cases (+66) (10 deaths)
  • Juneau - 719 cases (+12) (4 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 4,663 cases (+60) (74 deaths)
  • Kewaunee - 1,004 cases (+23) (6 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 3,984 cases (+23) (17 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 492 case (+14) (1 death)
  • Langlade - 803 cases (+29) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Lincoln - 685 cases (+36) (7 deaths) (+2)
  • Manitowoc – 2,424 cases (+39) (9 deaths)
  • Marathon - 4,011 cases (+152) (45 deaths) (+5)
  • Marinette - 1,578 cases (+46) (11 deaths)
  • Marquette - 576 cases (+20) (2 deaths)
  • Menominee - 273 cases (+16)
  • Milwaukee – 37,887 (+805) (565 deaths) (+4)
  • Monroe - 1,028 cases (+21) (4 deaths)
  • Oconto - 1,971 cases (+29) (13 deaths) (+4)
  • Oneida - 1,119 cases (+47) (8 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 8,472 cases (+178) (60 deaths) (+4) [corrects typo in case numbers]
  • Ozaukee - 2,016 cases (+15) (23 deaths)
  • Pepin – 118 cases (+6)
  • Pierce – 649 cases (+10) (7 deaths)
  • Polk – 473 cases (+19) (2 deaths)
  • Portage - 2,510 cases (+77) (19 deaths)
  • Price - 329 cases (+12) (1 death) (+1)
  • Racine - 6,814 cases (+198) (107 deaths) (+1)
  • Richland - 422 cases (+7) (6 deaths)
  • Rock – 4,520 cases (+65) (41 deaths) (+2)
  • Rusk - 182 cases (+17) (1 death)
  • Sauk – 1,586 cases (+51) (7 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 356 cases (+3) (1 death)
  • Shawano – 2,215 cases (+80) (17 deaths)
  • Sheboygan - 4,202 cases (+101) (24 deaths) (+2)
  • St. Croix - 1,609 cases (+27) (10 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor - 424 cases (+17) (7 deaths)
  • Trempealeau - 961 cases (+39) (2 deaths)
  • Vernon - 463 cases (+9) (3 deaths) (+1)
  • Vilas - 509 cases (+30) (5 deaths)
  • Walworth - 3,213 cases (+27) (37 deaths)
  • Washburn – 217 cases (+5) (2 deaths)
  • Washington - 4,076 cases (+32) (43 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 11,389 cases (+273) (112 deaths) (+2)
  • Waupaca – 2,149 cases (+33) (38 deaths) (+2)
  • Waushara - 906 cases (+39) (5 deaths) (+1)
  • Winnebago – 8,159 cases (+170) (54 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood - 1,536 cases (+92) (9 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula**

  • Alger - 78 cases (1 death)
  • Baraga - 64 cases (4 deaths) (cases revised -1 by state)
  • Chippewa - 68 cases (+1)
  • Delta – 974 cases (+10) (20 deaths)
  • Dickinson – 539 cases (+21) (16 deaths) (+2)
  • Gogebic - 241 cases (+8) (1 death)
  • Houghton – 745 cases (+10) (8 deaths)
  • Iron – 372 cases (+6) (20 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 17 cases
  • Luce – 37 cases (+1)
  • Mackinac - 122 cases (+4)
  • Marquette - 794 cases (+28) (13 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee - 586 cases (+10) (3 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 73 cases (+1)
  • Schoolcraft - 58 cases (+2)

* Viewers have asked us why the state has different numbers than what’s reported on some county health department websites. 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 but 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.

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
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask. At a minimum, use a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.

Health experts say face masks are still the most effective way the general public can slow the spread of the coronavirus, but only if the masks are worn appropriately -- over the nose and chin. County and state health officials are reminding and urging people to stay home when they feel sick, avoid large gatherings, and distance yourself six feet from people who aren’t from your household.

To help people understand how their decisions affect their own health and others, the Department of Health Services has a decision tool at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/decision.htm. The tool describes how choices matter and offers suggestions to make activities safer.

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