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Coronavirus in Wisconsin: 400,000 cases and rising

The death rate rose again, now 0.90%
Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 2:07 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 4, 2020 at 4:37 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin passed 400,000 coronavirus cases on Friday, less than 10 months after the virus that causes COVID-19 first arrived here.

The state has now seen 404,555 positive coronavirus test results since February 5 after the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported another 4,847 cases. That’s 31.89% of the 15,197 test results received before the DHS’s daily 9 A.M. deadline. The 7-day average rose to 4,103 after going down for four days. New cases were identified in 71 of the 72 counties; in Pepin, the total number of cases was revised down by two.

It took Wisconsin seven-and-a-half months to reach the first 100,000 cases. It took three weeks to add the last 100,000, and that included a holiday period when many test centers were closed.

Cumulative coronavirus casesDate reachedDays between
404,555December 421 days
301,165November 1318 days
201,049October 2636 days
101,227September 20228 days
1February 5

The death rate rose again and is now at 0.90% after 63 more people were added to the state’s death toll, which is now 3,625. The last time the death rate was 0.90% was October 31; it had fallen as low as 0.84% on November 23. The next number to watch on the death toll will be 3,786, when it would tie accidents (vehicle, household, etc.) as the third-leading cause of death in Wisconsin, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures from 2018. We’re currently averaging 53 deaths a day over the past 7 days, so we could pass that unfortunate milestone next week.

The 30 counties that reported deaths were: Ashland, Barron, Brown (2), Burnett (2), Calumet, Clark (2), Crawford, Dodge (3), Fond du lac, Forest, Kenosha (3), La Crosse, Lincoln (2), Marinette, Milwaukee (3), Monroe, Oneida (2), Outagamie, Ozaukee (2), Polk, Racine (9), Rock (7), Sawyer, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Walworth, Waukesha (8), Waupaca, Winnebago (2) and Wood. The death total in Marathon County was revised.

County-by-county case numbers and deaths appear later in this report.

The DHS announced new guidelines for quarantining, effective Monday. Following new CDC recommendations, people who had close contact with someone with COVID-19 only need to quarantine for 10 days if they don’t exhibit any symptoms. They can shorten that to 7 days if they get tested and receive a negative test result within 48 hours of the end of quarantine. The DHS hopes people will be more likely to quarantine if it’s a shorter duration. “While a shorter quarantine carries additional risk of spreading COVID-19, when done responsibly, it can make quarantining easier for more Wisconsinites,” Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm wrote in a statement. People should still monitor themselves for symptoms for a full 14 days and should immediately isolate themselves if they develop any symptoms.

The percentage of active cases fell again. It’s now 15.6%, with 63,202 people who were diagnosed in the past 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. The number of recovered people is up to 337,653, which is 83.5% of all cases.

It should be noted that some of the people who fall under the definition of recovered still suffer lasting effects of their infection. “This is, unfortunately, not as uncommon as you might think,” Prevea president/CEO Dr. Ashok Rai said on Action 2 Mews This Morning on Thursday, “to the point where we actually have a clinic now at Prevea just to take care of these patients, to get them plugged in to respiratory therapy, to physical therapy, to get tested for neuro-psych to see what’s going on with their fog. There are a lot of different complications that we’re seeing long term.”

HOSPITALIZATIONS

The state reported 202 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 since Thursday, only the second time this week that metric was over 200. The 7-day average is over 175 patients hospitalized per day, according to our calculations. Since that first patient 10 months ago, almost 18,000 people (17,943) have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, which is 4.4% of all cases.

Despite the jump in new patients, fewer COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized. New figures Friday from the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) show 1,660 COVID-19 patients are being treated in hospitals, the first time we’ve seen that metric below 1,700 in over a month (since November 2). There are currently 371 in ICU.

In the Fox Valley region, where 13 hospitals serve eight counties, there are 83 COVID-19 patients, with 18 in ICU. The Northeast region, which has 10 hospitals serving 7 counties, has 156 COVID-19 patients, 35 of whom are in intensive care. In both of those regions and statewide, those patient numbers are down from Thursday.

Daily changes in hospitalization numbers take deaths and discharges into account.

There were 9 patients at the alternate care facility at the state fairgrounds on Friday. The field hospital is meant to help free up hospital beds by taking patients who are close to being released from the hospital but not quite ready, such as those who are ambulatory but still need oxygen.

HOSPITAL READINESS

The WHA reported 196 of the state’s 1,466 ICU beds are open(13.4%). Counting ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation, the state has 1,675 beds possibly available (15.0%). These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19, and whether a bed can be filled depends on whether the hospital has the necessary medical and support staff.

The Fox Valley region has 13 ICU beds (12.5%) unoccupied, and 13% of medical beds overall.

The Northeast region has 37 ICU beds open -- more than double the 16 beds open Thursday. WHA numbers indicate 17.9% of intensive care unit beds and 19.5% of all medical beds are available if the hospitals have enough staffing.

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

Earlier this week, the DHS published a new, interactive map online that shows COVID-19 virus cases and deaths by county, municipality, ZIP Code or school district (CLICK HERE). You can view cases and deaths by total numbers or per capita or deaths as a percentage of total cases. Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm says it “offers new ways for people to understand COVID-19 activity within their communities.”

Wisconsin*

  • Adams – 1,109 cases (+18) (9 deaths)
  • Ashland – 764 cases (+17) (10 deaths) (+1)
  • Barron – 3,754 cases (+33) (42 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield - 726 cases (+19) (16 deaths)
  • Brown – 23,267 cases (+181) (146 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo – 845 cases (+6) (5 deaths)
  • Burnett – 805 cases (+9) (15 deaths) (+2)
  • Calumet – 4,156 cases (+39) (27 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa – 5,051 cases (+61) (53 deaths)
  • Clark – 2,288 cases (+53) (44 deaths) (+2)
  • Columbia – 3,583 cases (+28) (12 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,372 cases (+25) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Dane – 28,610 cases (+384) (102 deaths)
  • Dodge – 8,761 cases (+139) (78 deaths) (+3)
  • Door - 1,645 cases (+12) (11 deaths)
  • Douglas – 2,211 cases (+25) (6 deaths)
  • Dunn – 2,931 cases (+45) (14 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 8,039 cases (+83) (59 deaths)
  • Florence - 339 cases (+5) (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 8,910 cases (+208) (51 deaths) (+1)
  • Forest - 745 cases (+7) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Grant – 3,591 cases (+27) (64 deaths)
  • Green – 1,806 cases (+40) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,218 cases (+14) (6 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,343 cases (+11) (5 deaths)
  • Iron - 366 cases (+2) (10 deaths)
  • Jackson - 1,796 cases (+25) (5 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 5,589 cases (+104) (40 deaths)
  • Juneau - 2,009 cases (+38) (7 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 9,898 cases (+80) (156 deaths) (+3)
  • Kewaunee - 1,721 cases (+16) (21 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 8,556 cases (+156) (39 deaths) (+1)
  • Lafayette - 1,101 cases (+16) (3 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,581 cases (+19) (28 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,013 cases (+17) (34 deaths) (+2)
  • Manitowoc – 5,086 cases (+64) (37 deaths)
  • Marathon – 10,109 cases (+90) (130 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Marinette - 3,056 cases (+29) (30 deaths) (+1)
  • Marquette – 1,047 cases (+7) (15 deaths)
  • Menominee - 588 cases (+10) (8 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 71,333 (+805) (770 deaths) (+3)
  • Monroe - 2,764 cases (+51) (15 deaths) (+1)
  • Oconto – 3,236 cases (+36) (30 deaths)
  • Oneida - 2,419 cases (+49) (37 deaths) (+2)
  • Outagamie – 14,100 cases (+110) (134 deaths) (+1)
  • Ozaukee - 5,015 cases (+76) (39 deaths) (+2)
  • Pepin – 509 cases (2 deaths) (cases revised -2 by state)
  • Pierce – 2,306 cases (+36) (19 deaths)
  • Polk – 2,315 cases (+29) (17 deaths) (+1)
  • Portage – 4,823 cases (+14) (38 deaths)
  • Price – 783 cases (+15) (5 deaths)
  • Racine – 14,556 cases (+127) (188 deaths) (+9)
  • Richland - 909 cases (+12) (13 deaths)
  • Rock – 9,809 cases (+149) (97 deaths) (+7)
  • Rusk - 926 cases (+9) (7 deaths)
  • Sauk – 3,724 cases (+35) (19 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 943 cases (+13) (8 deaths) (+1)
  • Shawano – 3,774 cases (+33) (50 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 9,471 cases (+108) (63 deaths) (+1)
  • St. Croix – 4,507 cases (+27) (22 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor - 1,274 cases (+32) (10 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 2,533 cases (+35) (22 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,223 cases (+32) (12 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,327 cases (+24) (13 deaths)
  • Walworth – 6,299 cases (+104) (56 deaths) (+1)
  • Washburn – 753 cases (+14) (5 deaths)
  • Washington – 9,335 cases (+110) (74 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 27,602 cases (+320) (222 deaths) (+8)
  • Waupaca – 3,758 cases (+11) (90 deaths) (+1)
  • Waushara – 1,781 cases (+10) (10 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 13,514 cases (+120) (123 deaths) (+2)
  • Wood – 4,549 cases (+132) (31 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 165 cases (+5) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 423 cases (+1) (24 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 382 cases (6 deaths) (cases revised -17 by state)
  • Delta – 2,291 cases (+19) (51 deaths)
  • Dickinson - 1,747 cases (+27) (45 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 626 cases (+11) (12 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,356 cases (+24) (14 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron – 709 cases (+6) (30 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 60 cases (+3) (1 death)
  • Luce – 122 cases (+4)
  • Mackinac - 227 cases (+2) (1 death)
  • Marquette - 2,760 cases (+33) (31 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee - 1,256 cases (+15) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Ontonagon – 263 cases (+2) (13 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft - 176 cases (+2) (1 death)

* 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. Monday’s numbers include updates since Saturday’s reporting deadline.

You can watch the full DHS briefing below.

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.

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