COVID-19 cases spike in Rock County

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ROCK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) -- Rock County Public Health Department released shocking new estimates for the Southern Wisconsin region, where they believe COVID-19 cases could reach close 9,000 by next week if people do not follow social distance rules and Gov. Tony Evers' Safer at Home order.

SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital -- Janesville has a plan in place for a surge in patients and is coordinating with the other local hospitals in Rock County.

"I think it gets more and more challenging to follow some of those 'Safer at Home' guidelines but the only way to help SSM Health and other healthcare providers is to continue to be judicious about those things," President of SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital – Janesville, Eric Thornton said.

The Rock County Public Health Department denied NBC15's request for a formal interview. They sent NBC15 a statement:

"First, we have a large number of recent positive cases associated with people who work at a plant (Birds Eye) in an adjacent county (Walworth) but reside in Rock County, " Environmental Health Director, Rick Wietersen said. "But the main reason for increases in positive cases is that the testing capacity has increased substantially, resulting in triple the number of tests (1457) being conducted over the past 2 weeks compared to the prior 2 weeks (496)."

CLICK HERE to view the estimates from the Rock County Public Health Department.