COVID-19 is so bad in Wisconsin, DHS needed a whole new category

Wisconsin introduces new “Critically High” case activity category and all but seven counties are already in it.(Dept. of Health Services)
Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 5:07 PM PST|Updated: 16 hours ago

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The spread of COVID-19 across Wisconsin is off the charts, literally.

So many counties are so far past the Dept. of Health Services’ highest classification for case activity, that it needed to create a brand new category. And, although its minimum cutoff is nearly three times higher than the old top category:

  • Nearly every Wisconsin county surpassed that threshold.
  • The entire state too.

In fact, DHS numbers show Wisconsin’s case activity exceeded the minimum by over 30 percent.

“Far too many of our communities are in a dire situation,” DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said. “To put these new data in perspective, Wisconsin is now seeing more average cases per day than New York City did at the peak of its surge last spring.”

To be considered for the previous top category, “Very High,” a region’s case rate would have to surpass 350 cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks. Every single one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties has at least doubled that number, with Washburn Co. reporting the lowest rate in the state at 769.6 cases per 100,000 people.

The new “Critically High” level sets the bar at 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents. The only seven counties are below that:

  • Burnett County (899.9/100K)
  • Dane County (951.2/100K)
  • Douglas County (827.4/100K)
  • Green County (832.8/100K)
  • Vernon County (782.5/100K)
  • Walworth County (973.5/100K)
  • Washburn County (769.6/100K)

Of that septet, only Green County’s case rate isn’t on an upward trajectory.

For the entire state of Wisconsin, its burden sits at 1,310.6 cases per 100,000 residents, with DHS noting that figure has jumped nearly 25 percent in the past two weeks alone. The seven day rolling average of new cases hit an all-time high Wednesday, pushing 6,000 cases over the previous week as the state recorded back-to-back 7,000+ cases days.

“Because of these critically high levels of disease, public health can no longer adequately contact trace, hospital beds are filled with patients with COVID-19, and too many Wisconsin families are losing loved ones to this virus,” Willems Van Dihk continued.

She added the agency hopes by adding this new level, people will get a better grasp on how prevalent coronavirus is in their community – and hopefully encourage them to follow Gov. Evers’ latest Executive Order and stay home.



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