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Has Wisconsin's COVID-19 Surge Peaked?

Jack Hurbanis
A COVID-19 testing sign at the Miller Park grounds.

Across the state, around 85% of hospital beds are occupied. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported more than 6,200 new cases of the coronavirus. That number is down significantly from the high of nearly 8,000 cases a week ago.

Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, said everyone is looking for signs that Wisconsin’s numbers are on their way down.

“Hospitals peaked at almost 2,300 patients. I think 456 of those were in intensive care units last week and we’re down about 10% from both of those numbers now. So that’s potentially a good sign,” he said.

Raymond spoke at a virtual Milwaukee Press Club event Tuesday.

He said another positive sign is the fact that in Wisconsin the number of new cases expected to stem from a single infected person is trending down, closer to one. Raymond said health officials want that number be below one and Wisconsin has been above that for several months now. 

Still, Raymond said, as always, the trajectory of the virus will depend on the actions of people. He said with the holidays approaching, it will be up to individuals not to gather with those from outside their household.

Raymond said the phase of the pandemic we are in right now is the most dangerous “because this is happening at small gatherings in homes and during leisure time activities. And that really is the most difficult for us to control."

When it comes to just how hunkered down we should all be, Raymond said his wife is now cutting his hair and the two have not dined out since the start of the pandemic, though they do order takeout from restaurants they trust. He said he’s not telling anyone else what they should do but warns that community spread is high in every county.

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