DHS: COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocketing, especially South Central Wisconsin

Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 2:30 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 2:48 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The entire state of Wisconsin - but, especially south-central Wisconsin - faces a crisis with the number of people being hospitalized by COVID-19 rapidly rises. That was the message Dept. of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm stressed during Wednesday’s update on the state’s battle versus the virus.

Joined by Gov. Tony Evers for the second day in a row, Palm wasted no time diving straight into the latest report on new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. She pointed out that the number of people hospitalized across Wisconsin increased 26 percent, to 853 patients, in the last week alone. In south-central Wisconsin, which includes Madison, Janesville, and Beloit, the rate was more than double the state’s number, 54 percent, rising from 77 to 113 people currently hospitalized.

“(O)ur state is in a dangerous place. We are overwhelming our health care system," Evers said.

That upward trend isn’t expected to turnaround anytime soon, either. Palm put it bluntly during the briefing, saying the situation was going to get worse before it gets better. In order, to help the state brace for the rising hospitalizations, Gov. Evers ordered the state fairgrounds in West Allis converted into a field hospital to help provide relief for the Fox Valley region. As of Wednesday, nine of ten hospital beds in that region were filled, either with COVID-19 patients or other patients.

Shortly after the latest figures were released, Dane Co. Executive Joe Parisi released a statement pointing out that 59 of those 77 people hospitalized in south-central Wisconsin are admitted to facilities in the county, adding that 16 of those people are in intensive care.

“Some of our worst fears are being realized,” he said, urging everyone to stay home if they can, limit the trips they take, socially distance, and wear a mask.

“Please don’t think you are invincible or it can’t happen to you," he added. "To every family of a loved one now in the hospital - our hearts are with all of you.”

Sixteen more deaths from complications related to coronavirus were reported to DHS on Wednesday. That is down from the all-time high of 27 that was set at this time last week, but remains among the highest recorded since late May. The week-to-week drop dropped the seven-day rolling average to 13 deaths per day.

DHS' latest report Wednesday showed 2,319 more cases were confirmed, bringing the number of active cases to 25,500 across the state. That’s over 18 percent of everyone who has tested positive in Wisconsin since the pandemic began. The seven day rolling average for cases sits at 2,346, nearly triple this time last month, when it stood at 879 cases per day.

With 13,507 total tests recorded, the percentage of those than came back positive stood at 17.1 percent. The agency’s records show the percent-positive has not moved more than a half-point from the 17 percent line since September 25, nearly two weeks ago.

Recalling how the people of Wisconsin came together at the beginning of the pandemic as health officials battled to flatten the curve of rising cases, Evers stated the state was successful then, but it was in a more dire place now.

Ten more counties have been added to the list of ones where the coronavirus rate is in the Very High category. In all, 55 counties of 72 now fall into that category, while the other 17 are still considered high.

Copyright 2020 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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