Wisconsin continues to break COVID-19 daily case records
Star Journal Staff
Nearly 7,500 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday in Wisconsin, bringing the total to 293,388 since the first case was announced in mid-March. During a call with reporters Thursday, Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk also said that the state’s seven-day average of 6,209 is higher than New York’s highest seven-day average in April (5,292) and New York has 2.5 million more people than Wisconsin.
“Last spring ambulance sirens ran non-stop in the streets of New York. The reality of COVID-19 was unavoidable, with so many people living in such close proximity you could see the devastation the virus was causing in the city,” Willems Van Dijk said. “The residents of our state are more spread out so it’s easier to miss the crisis. But this virus and the death it brings with it are everywhere in this state. COVID-19, its spread and the strain it is putting on our hospitals endangers everyone in Wisconsin.”
This week the DHS added a new category, “critically high” to its disease activity dashboard. It indicates a case burden over 1,000 cases for every 100,000 residents, a level Willems Van Dijk said is three times higher than the “high” category, a threshold met by 65 of the state’s 72 counties. As of Wednesday, every county has reported at least one death.
“We have set at new record of hospitalized COVID-19 patients every day this month,” she noted, adding that statewide, only 8% of ICU beds are available.
In a prime-time streamed address Tuesday, Gov. Tony Evers announced an executive order advising residents to stay home. He reiterated his plea in this week’s radio address.
“We must get back to the basics of fighting this virus just like we did last spring, and it starts at home,” Evers said. “So, please, cancel the happy hours, dinner parties, sleepovers, and play dates at your home. And if a friend or family member invites you over, offer to hang out virtually instead.”
During the call with reporters Thursday, Evers said he was preparing a package of pandemic relief legislation, but declined to go into detail. Saying that Republicans are “not in favor of mandating anything,” Evers said he was not optimistic the legislature would buy in.
With 58 more deaths from the disease, Willems Van Dijk said the state must take action.
“We owe it to them and we owe it to ourselves to take every action we can to stop the spread,” she said. “Wear a mask, stay home to save lives. It’s tiring, I know, but we are in a crisis in the state. This isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s ours.”
For more information and statistics, visit dhs.wisconsin.gov.