Wisconsin breaks monthly record for COVID-19 cases in just 18 days

There’s still 12 days to go in November
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 2:55 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A single-day record for new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday pushed the monthly total to a new all-time high as well – with twelve more days to go and no immediate decline in sight.

The latest Dept. of Health Services report shows the agency recorded 7,989 new positive tests on Wednesday, surpassing the previous high, set just five days ago, by more than 200 additional cases.

Those new cases brought the total for November to 106,467 so far. That’s over 3,000 more than last month and just under a third of the 331,837 total cases reported in Wisconsin since the pandemic began in February.

With approximately 20,000 total tests tallied Wednesday, the latest total means nearly 40 percent of all tests in the past day were positive. Over the past seven days, just over one in three tests came back positive. For comparison, around this time last month – when Wisconsin was reporting what were then record numbers of cases – around one in five tests were positive.

During Wednesday’s news conference, during which Gov. Tony Evers announced extensions to his emergency orders, DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm recalled her previous warning that “things would get worse before they got better” and said the state is seeing that now.

At the beginning of the news conference, Evers reminded everyone that 92 new COVID-19-related deaths were reported the previous day. That single-day total exceeded any other day by 40 percent.

On Wednesday, the figure retreated to 52 deaths in the preceding day. Four of those new deaths were reported in Dane Co., health officials noted. With that decline, the average number of deaths over the past week slipped by one to 48 deaths per day.

In all, DHS reports 2,793 people in Wisconsin have died from complications related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Evers also warned that at the current trajectory, the state could hit 5,000 deaths by year’s end.

Palm’s warnings about rising cases extended into hospitalizations. She used the news conference to explain in depth the extent to which hospital resources are stretched, pointing out that many hospitals have reached or exceeded capacity. In one example, she pointed out the American Family Children’s Hospital had to start taking adult patients to make sure those infected had beds.

DHS numbers showed 283 more people were admitted into hospitals across the state over the past day, bringing the total number ever hospitalized after testing positive to 15,100. As of right now, 2,277 of them remain admitted, 431 of whom are in intensive care.

DHS' tracker for hospitalizations show that, between COVID-19 and non-COVID patients, nearly 90 percent of all hospital beds in Wisconsin are currently occupied.

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