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Wisconsin Sets New Record-High COVID-19 Numbers, Experts Say Mitigation Works But All Must Play Role

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Scott Olson
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Members of the Wisconsin National Guard operate a mobile COVID-19 test center on the grounds of Miller Park on Oct. 29 in Milwaukee.

State health officials continue to report that Wisconsin is in a crisis regarding COVID-19.

Wednesday was another record-breaking day for coronavirus cases. Department of Health Services Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm says the state added nearly 6,000 new cases since Tuesday.

She says the seven-day average of new cases is more than 4,800. One month ago it was 2,400. Two months ago, it was 767. That’s a 531% increase.

Palm adds that all counties in Wisconsin are “at a very high COVID activity level."

"To be considered very high, a county needs to reach the burden threshold of 350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for every 100,000 residents," she explains, "and yet many of our counties have a case burden above 1,000 and even 2,000 cases per 100,000."

Palm says this is what is meant by the state being in crisis. She says hospitals in every region of Wisconsin are reporting staffing strains and are at or near capacity.

In a media briefing, she and Gov. Tony Evers continued to encourage people  to wear masks, practice social distancing, and not gather with others outside of their household. Health experts insist the mitigation efforts do work, but everyone has to play a role.

"All the things we're doing have kept it in check, but we're just not doing them well enough, we're not doing them aggressively enough," says Dr. Ryan Westergaard, the chief medical officer for the state’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases. "The strategies are there, the evidence is there, but you know it's going to take a lot more than we're doing to slow it down to a level where we're going to feel comfortable that we're not at risk for many preventable deaths."

Wisconsin is nearing 2,200 deaths from COVID-19.

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