Wisconsin Coronavirus Cases

As of August 1. Wisconsin reported 54,002 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Of these, 947 have resulted in death. Milwaukee has the majority of cases with 19,519 reported. Brown County was second with 3,962 and Racine, with 3,191, was third.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin Hits Coronavirus Record as Cases in Dane County and Milwaukee Reduce

Wisconsin shattered its record Tuesday for single-day reports of COVID-19 infections, even as the state’s two largest urban areas saw cases dwindle.

Dane County reported 34 cases, down from 102 on July 14, the day after the county enacted a mask order, and from a high of 142 on June 30.

“While we can’t attribute the decline to a specific action, I do think it is notable that we are in a period of decline a few weeks after orders adjusting bar, restaurant, and mass gathering limits went into effect, along with the mask order,” said Kat Grande, public health supervisor for Public Health Madison & Dane County. “We’re seeing record-highs elsewhere in the state — many spikes are in areas without such protective measures in place.”

The county this month rolled back rules for bars and restaurants after a spate of new cases involving young adults were traced to drinking establishments. Indoor service at bars is banned, and restaurants can only serve diners at 25% of their normal capacity, down from 50% allowed when the county relaxed restrictions on June 15. The county also limited gatherings to 10 people inside and 25 people outdoors.

County Executive Joe Parisi said Tuesday the order has been a success, but it can only do so much when people from other areas can cross county borders.

He called for a statewide mask order, which is unlikely given the state Supreme Court’s invalidation of Gov. Tony Evers' safer at home order and resistance from Republicans, who control the Legislature, which could vote on a statewide mask order. Evers has said that the Supreme Court ruling prevents him from enacting statewide measures.

“We need some statewide policy, and a statewide masking mandate would be incredibly easy to put into place and would be one of the least restrictive things one could do to have a very substantial impact on the virus,” Parisi told WISC-TV on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the city of Milwaukee, considered the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin with 13,024 infections and 252 deaths — and which enacted a mask order last Thursday — reported 132 cases on Tuesday, down from 248 two weeks ago.

Tracking daily changes in individual counties is complicated by the fact that state data reports totals for counties, but not daily data, and county health department websites vary in their reporting.

But data available show that recent outbreaks in the state are occurring in the southeastern counties surrounding Milwaukee, with dramatic spikes in Waukesha, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Ozaukee counties. Also on the uptick is Sauk County, which contains most of the Wisconsin Dells waterparks, which draw tens of thousands of tourists each week. Positive cases there have more than doubled this month to total 250.

According to a comparison by personal finance website Wallethub.com, Wisconsin currently has the second-least restrictive statewide policy to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, trailing only South Dakota. Only a handful of local jurisdictions have imposed any restrictions at all.

"The Republicans made it very clear they don’t believe a statewide approach is the right way to go at this point in time.It doesn’t make a lot of sense spending a lot of time doing something we know isn’t going to be successful."

-- Governor Tony Evers on the decision to cease working on statewide guidance for the COVID

19 pandemic

Free Clinics in Wisconsin Lack Volunteers

After the Benevolent Specialists Project (BSP) Free Clinic in Middleton, Wisc., canceled patient visits in March and then provided a trickle of virtual care, the clinic opened again last week with COVID-19 precautions.

But another challenge emerged. The clinic, staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses, most of them retired, is having a hard time finding providers because many fear exposure to the coronavirus.

Among 50 regular doctors, a third said they wouldn’t return. Of 30 nurses, more than half said they wouldn’t come back, even as new safety procedures call for more nurses than before.

“Many are in that higher-risk age bracket,” said Tricia Levenhagen, manager of the clinic, known as BSP. “We are challenged right now with finding enough volunteers to provide patient care when we do have the inpatient visits.”

An estimated 5.4 million American workers lost health insurance between February and May, including 62,000 in Wisconsin, according to a new report. Free clinics, a safety net for the uninsured, are encountering pent-up demand even as many struggle with staffing and other hurdles, such as paying for protective equipment and not being equipped to do telemedicine.

Wisconsin’s 90 or so free clinics are “starting to see the wave” of people who are newly unemployed and uninsured, said Dennis Skrajewski, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Free and Charitable Clinics.

“There are many patients out there delaying care currently and many more unemployed lacking insurance and access to care,” Skrajewski said.

An estimated 343,000 adults in Wisconsin had no insurance in May, up from 281,000 in 2018 — a 22 percent increase that ranks 20th highest among states, according to the report this week from Families USA, a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in May suspended rules so people wouldn’t lose coverage during the pandemic through BadgerCare, the state’s main Medicaid program. But some co-pays for childless adults on the program, adopted by previous Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature, have begun.

Wisconsin remains one of 13 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. It’s the only such state with no coverage gap, however, because Medicaid covers people up to the poverty level and people who make more can get subsidized private insurance on the federal exchange — though advocates say such coverage can be unaffordable.

Unemployment Rate in Wisconsin in the month of March, 2020: 3.4%

Advance unemployment claims made in Wisconsin for the week ending May 2 - 49,993 Claims made the previous week - 38,002

Source: Statista

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin by Race as of May 12:

American Indian: 1% Asian or Pacific Islander: 4% Black: 21% White: 54% Multiple or Other races: 10% Unknown: 10%

Source: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

A Recent Outbreak Of COVID-19 Cases Connected to an Ashland Event

An event held recently in Ashland has led to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

A letter was sent out to the Chequamegon Bay community on Thursday July 9 stating that 13 confirmed cases across the tri-state area are tied to the event, which was not specified.

On Monday, Bayfield County health officials sent out a release urging anyone to get tested who attended a hockey tournament in Ashland the last weekend in June after an individual tested positive for coronavirus.

Both children and adults have tested positive for the virus with more tests still pending and cases expected to grow. The letter states that health officials in Ashland and Bayfield counties are "working above capacity" to conduct contact tracing related to the event.

"Multiple businesses in the area are temporarily closed, or have suspended operations based on potential staff exposure to COVID-19 due to this single event," the letter reads. "These closures have a significant impact on the reputation and economic viability of a business, and the health and financial well-being of staff members that rely on these businesses."

Medical providers in the area are conducting a high volume of tests. Many staff members are under quarantine after potentially becoming exposed, limiting their ability to respond to those in need of care.

In a separate case, Bayfield County reported Thursday that a recent visitor to the Port Wing community has contracted COVID-19 and is hospitalized downstate. The county is asking anyone who visited the Port Bar and Restaurant in Port Wing to monitor for symptoms of the virus after the individual visited the establishment over the holiday weekend.

Several counties, two tribes and a local medical center in the region are urging residents and visitors to wear masks, limit contact with people outside their household and follow social distancing guidelines when they go out in public. Bayfield County has reported four cases of coronavirus, including one death. Ashland County has confirmed three cases of the virus as of Thursday afternoon.

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