DHS: Wisconsin has crossed the 3,000 COVID-19 death milestone – WBAY

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin has surpassed another milestone during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Saturday, the Department of Health Services (DHS) reported another 51 deaths, causing the state to cross the 3,000 cumulative death mark.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 17,893 new coronavirus test results in the past 24-hour period, with 6,224 tests positive — a positivity rate of 34.78%. This marks a third day of decline for both new cases, however Saturday marked a rise in the positivity rate after a two day decline. The 7-day average for new cases increased to 6,408 following a two day decline. There were 11,669 negative tests in the latest batch of results.

Wisconsin’s newly reported 51 deaths bring the cumulative death toll to 3,005. COVID-19 is currently the fourth leading cause of death in Wisconsin. The state is averaging 54 deaths per day over the last 7 days, holding steady from Friday’s average, which was an increase from Thursday’s 7-day average of 52. The death percentage is currently 0.86%.

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

Gov. Tony Evers issued a new face coverings order Friday, as he announced he would earlier this week. Under the order, anyone age 5 or older has to wear a face covering whenever they’re indoors or in an enclosed space with someone from outside their household. The governor cited the rising number of hospitalizations putting a strain on hospitals in issuing the new public health order. He noted that it’s not just affecting patients with COVID-19; there are fewer beds, less staffing and fewer resources available for people who need to be hospitalized for other reasons, like heart attacks, strokes and accidents.

Health Secretary-designee Andrea Palm issued a statement, “We know hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, which means we will need even more capacity for our hospitals in the coming weeks with our current cases. We need every Wisconsinite to take this seriously to stay home. That is why it is imperative we take action to curb transmission now.”

The DHS says 208 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the last 24 hours. On Friday, the daily hospitalizations had fallen below 200 for the first time in four days. Friday’s report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association says there are currently 2,076 COVID-19 in hospitals. Of those, 441 are in intensive care, the third-most of any day in this pandemic. The alternate care facility — the field hospital at the state fairgrounds — is treating 20 patients, an increase of three from Friday.

The state says 15,734 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Madison less than 10 months ago.

A total 351,169 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Wisconsin. The state says 21.6% of all of these cases are active, or 75,922 people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in the past 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. That’s down from 21.9% on Friday, and 22.3% on Thursday. There are 272,180 people diagnosed with the virus who are considered recovered.


This year, COVID-19 has 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.

The CDC mortality figures are based on 12 months. Wisconsin’s first COVID-19 deaths were reported 8 months ago.

HOSPITAL READINESS – these numbers are from Friday, and will be updated when Saturday’s numbers become available.

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the state’s 134 hospitals have 154 open ICU beds, or 10.6% of the state’s ICU beds. It further indicates 13.1% of all hospital beds are open for intensive care, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation.

The Fox Valley region’s 13 hospitals have a total 6 ICU beds open, or 5.8%, and one intermediate care bed. Overall, 9.1% of all hospital beds are open in that region serving eight counties. The hospitals are treating 137 COVID-19 patients, including 19 in ICU.

The Northeast region’s 10 hospitals have 16 ICU beds open, which is 7.7% of the seven-county region’s ICU beds, and 14.4% of all beds are available overall. Those hospitals are caring for 185 COVID-19 patients, 54 in ICU.

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. An open bed doesn’t necessarily mean it’s available for a patient if the hospital doesn’t have the staff — doctors, nurses, even food workers — to support it.

The need for supplies remains largely unchanged. Twenty-three hospitals report less than a week’s supply of gowns — an improvement from 25 on Thursday — while 13 are short on paper medical masks, 9 hospitals need goggles, and 6 need N95 masks.

SATURDAY’S COUNTY CASE NUMBERS WILL BE HERE SHORTLY (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold.)*

* 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.


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


  • 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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