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Wisconsin reports second-most COVID-19 deaths on record: 83 in one day

Other key metrics, including cases, hospitalizations and positivity rate, are down
The CDC says COVID-19 will be a Top 10 leading cause of death for 2020. Data from 2018, the...
The CDC says COVID-19 will be a Top 10 leading cause of death for 2020. Data from 2018, the most recent year available, indicates the virus will rank third behind heart disease and cancer.(Source: CDC via CNN)
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 2:08 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2020 at 3:57 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin reported 83 more deaths from COVID-19 in its report on Thursday, the second-most on record. The death toll is now 2,876 -- an increase of 351 deaths in one week. The one-day record of 92 deaths was set on Tuesday this week. COVID-19 now compares to the 4th-leading cause of death in Wisconsin (more about this later).

Deaths were reported in 31 counties, with multiple deaths reported in 19 of them: Brown (2), Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Dane, Dodge (6), Eau Claire (2), Fond du Lac (3), Grant, Kenosha (9), La Crosse, Langlade (2), Lincoln (5), Marathon (3), Marinette, Milwaukee (12), Oneida, Outagamie (3), Ozaukee, Portage (2), Racine (5), Richland, Rock (2), Sauk (2), Sawyer, Trempealeau (3), Walworth, Washington (3), Waukesha (2), Waupaca (3) and Wood (2).

Coronavirus cases spread statewide with all 72 counties reporting new cases. The Department of Health Services says testing identified 6,635 new cases in the past 24-hour period, down 1,300 from Wednesday’s record of 7,989. It was based on 19,220 test results, bringing the positivity rate down to 34.52% from Wednesday’s near-record high (39.69%). The remaining 12,585 test results were negative.

Testing identified almost as many new coronavirus cases Thursday as the state had in the first three months of the pandemic, yet we can take some relief coming down from record case numbers. The 7-day average for cases declined to 6,441 cases per day.

Case and death numbers by county are listed later in this article.

The state reported another 236 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. To date, 15,336 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, or 4.5% of all identified cases. The Wisconsin Hospital Association reports 2,104 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospitals, including 427 in intensive care. That’s 113 fewer patients than Wednesday when you take deaths and discharges into account. The alternate care facility set up on the Wisconsin state fairgrounds is treating 17 patients.

The state says 75,580 people infected with the coronavirus are still active cases, meaning they were diagnosed in the past 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. That’s 22.3% of all known cases since February 5, down from 22.5% of all cases yesterday. There are almost 260,000 infected people (259,953) who are now considered recovered.

So far, a total 338,472 people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus; that’s almost 6% of the state’s population.

LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH

COVID-19 has now killed more people in Wisconsin than the flu and pneumonia, suicide and kidney disease in 2018 combined. The virus now compares to the 4th leading cause of death in Wisconsin, behind heart disease, cancer and accidents, based on the CDC’s 2018 mortality report, the latest ranked mortality figures available.

Coincidentally, Thursday also marks exactly 8 months since the first COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin were reported. The CDC mortality figures are based on 12 months.

RankLeading causes of death in Wisconsin (2018)Deaths
1Heart disease12,061
2Cancer11,457
3Accidents3,786
-COVID-192,876
4Chronic lower respiratory diseases2,866
5Stroke2,549
6Alzheimer disease2,515
7Diabetes1,508
8Influenza/pneumonia1,075
9Kidney disease914
10Suicide888

WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE REPORT

Tuesday, ABC News obtained a White House Coronavirus Task Force report for the nation’s governors from this past Sunday, Nov. 15. The report says Wisconsin has the 5th highest rate of new infections per 100,000 residents and the 8th highest positivity rate for test results in the country.

White House Coronavirus Task Force maps showing the change in COVID-19 virus infections per...
White House Coronavirus Task Force maps showing the change in COVID-19 virus infections per capita and test positivity rate in Wisconsin counties between October and November.(Obtained by ABC News)

For Wisconsin, the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommends proactively testing groups “representative of the community,” including large, private-sector employers, teachers, community college students, county workers, hospital personnel and staff in crowded settings). It says the state should aim for at least 2,000 tests per 100,000 population in every county every week, and intensify that in areas showing increased spread of the COVID-19 virus.

HOSPITAL READINESS

The WHA reports 11.9% of ICU beds and 13.8% of all hospital beds are open across the state’s 134 hospitals. That’s an improvement from the 9.8% and 10.6%, respectively, reported on Wednesday.

Hospitals in the Fox Valley region are treating 143 COVID-19 patients, including 21 in ICU. There are 10 ICU beds open (9.6%), up from 4 on Wednesday, but still no intermediate care beds open at the 13 hospitals. Overall, 7.6% of beds are open, down from 9.1% on Wednesday.

The 10 hospitals in the Northeast region are treating 192 COVID-19 patients, with 52 in ICU. There are 11 ICU beds open (5.3%), down from 19 on Wednesday, with 14.4% of beds available overall, up from 13.9% Wednesday.

Hospital bed availability can fluctuate widely from day to day with new admissions, deaths, discharges for patients being treated for all conditions, not just COVID-19.

There is still a need for gowns and paper medical masks. Twenty-five hospitals report less than a week’s supply of gowns and 13 report less than a week’s supply of paper medical masks. Nine hospitals need goggles and six are short on N95 masks.

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

After the state’s daily report, the Winnebago County Health Department reported 3 more COVID-19 deaths and the Appleton Health Department reported a death in the Outagamie County portion of the city. WBAY reports DHS numbers, even though there may be a delay in some of the updates, because they are compiled from all health departments within a county’s boundaries, including tribal, municipal and county health departments.

Wisconsin*

  • Adams - 923 cases (+36) (6 deaths)
  • Ashland - 546 cases (+7) (7 deaths)
  • Barron – 3,023 cases (+141) (35 deaths)
  • Bayfield - 587 cases (+15) (6 deaths)
  • Brown – 20,563 cases (+256) (126 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo – 647 cases (+24) (4 deaths)
  • Burnett – 638 cases (+21) (9 deaths)
  • Calumet - 3,732 cases (+45) (22 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa – 3,894 cases (+97) (43 deaths) (+1)
  • Clark – 1,824 cases (+36) (31 deaths) (+1)
  • Columbia – 2,917 cases (+62) (10 deaths)
  • Crawford – 752 cases (+27) (4 deaths)
  • Dane – 23,869 cases (+395) (69 deaths) (+1)
  • Dodge – 7,377 cases (+275) (65 deaths) (+6)
  • Door - 1,464 cases (+26) (10 deaths)
  • Douglas – 1,484 cases (+63) (1 death)
  • Dunn – 2,217 cases (+56) (5 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 6,778 cases (+176) (48 deaths) (+2)
  • Florence - 292 cases (+7) (11 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 7,612 cases (+191) (38 deaths) (+3)
  • Forest - 677 cases (+8) (15 deaths)
  • Grant – 3,101 cases (+38) (54 deaths) (+1)
  • Green – 1,476 cases (+35) (5 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,086 cases (+7) (5 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,117 cases (+44) (4 deaths)
  • Iron - 314 cases (+4) (6 deaths)
  • Jackson - 1,380 cases (+18) (4 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 4,621 cases (+95) (33 deaths)
  • Juneau - 1,698 cases (+43) (7 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 8,088 cases (+91) (119 deaths) (+9)
  • Kewaunee - 1,510 cases (+23) (14 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 6,919 cases (+74) (32 deaths) (+1)
  • Lafayette - 973 cases (+15) (2 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,417 cases (+11) (23 deaths) (+2)
  • Lincoln – 1,666 cases (+44) (21 deaths) (+5)
  • Manitowoc – 4,317 cases (+80) (29 deaths)
  • Marathon – 8,605 cases (+108) (111 deaths) (+3)
  • Marinette - 2,635 cases (+43) (25 deaths) (+1)
  • Marquette - 970 cases (+7) (7 deaths)
  • Menominee - 529 cases (+4) (2 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 59,156 (+854) (680 deaths) (+12)
  • Monroe - 2,120 cases (+81) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 2,918 cases (+46) (23 deaths)
  • Oneida - 2,032 cases (+33) (25 deaths) (+1)
  • Outagamie – 12,694 cases (+162) (110 deaths) (+3)
  • Ozaukee - 4,102 cases (+120) (33 deaths) (+1)
  • Pepin – 403 cases (+22) (2 deaths)
  • Pierce – 1,698 cases (+73) (11 deaths)
  • Polk – 1,722 cases (+29) (4 deaths)
  • Portage – 4,209 cases (+69) (33 deaths) (+3)
  • Price - 624 cases (+6) (3 deaths)
  • Racine – 12,302 cases (+236) (146 deaths) (+5)
  • Richland - 756 cases (+15) (11 deaths) (+1)
  • Rock – 8,173 cases (+81) (62 deaths) (+2)
  • Rusk - 705 cases (+27) (5 deaths)
  • Sauk – 3,080 cases (+37) (14 deaths) (+2)
  • Sawyer - 727 cases (+17) (6 deaths) (+1)
  • Shawano – 3,447 cases (+35) (42 deaths)
  • Sheboygan - 8,021 cases (+181) (48 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 3,711 cases (+80) (19 deaths)
  • Taylor - 1,019 cases (+27) (11 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 1,993 cases (+30) (11 deaths) (+3)
  • Vernon - 918 cases (+24) (7 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,052 cases (+13) (11 deaths)
  • Walworth – 5,202 cases (+76) (45 deaths) (+1)
  • Washburn – 524 cases (+23) (2 deaths)
  • Washington – 7,546 cases (+158) (62 deaths) (+3)
  • Waukesha – 22,536 cases (+1,061) (168 deaths) (+2)
  • Waupaca – 3,450 cases (+31) (78 deaths) (+3)
  • Waushara – 1,653 cases (+17) (7 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 12,229 cases (+131) (98 deaths)
  • Wood – 3,512 cases (+92) (20 deaths) (+2)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 138 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 318 cases (+10) (5 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 319 cases (+57) (2 deaths)
  • Delta – 1,986 cases (+79) (47 deaths) (+1)
  • Dickinson - 1,384 cases (+24) (28 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 499 cases (+2) (9 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,130 cases (+24) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron – 617 cases (+7) (27 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 47 cases (+2) (1 death)
  • Luce – 110 cases (+5)
  • Mackinac - 188 cases (+3)
  • Marquette - 2,142 cases (+63) (24 deaths) (+1)
  • Menominee - 1,032 cases (+15) (12 deaths) (+1)
  • Ontonagon – 225 cases (9 deaths) (+2)
  • Schoolcraft - 151 cases (+1) (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.

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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