'Deeply concerning:' Racine County sees new surge in COVID-19 cases

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Coronavirus cases are surging in Racine County, health officials announced Thursday, Oct. 8. 

The Central Racine County Health Department (CRCHD) says they reiterated the urgent need to follow recommendations for preventing COVID-19 transmission based on the sharp increase in reported COVID-19 cases over the past month – mirroring trends seen across the state. This rise follows Labor Day, the start of some schools and an increase in extracurricular activities as well as ongoing parties, weddings, and other social gatherings. Racine County and the CRCHD jurisdiction are currently in the “very high risk” category based on the rate of cases.

Between the first and last week of September, the CRCHD jurisdiction saw a 275% increase in the number of reported cases. The jurisdiction is seeing more cases than any time during the pandemic. These increases have occurred across all age groups and are impacting all areas of the county. Meanwhile, CDC data shows that Wisconsin is currently third in the country in cases over the last seven days. Last, according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services, southeast Wisconsin hospitals are at or over 90% ICU capacity, and the total number of hospitalized COVID patients is at the highest number since May.

“The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases is deeply, deeply concerning. It’s crucial that residents maintain social distance, avoid large gatherings, wear a face covering in public, stay home when sick or quarantined, and practice good hygiene. By doing so, residents protect not only themselves, but their fellow community members – particularly our most vulnerable populations,” said Margaret Gesner, Health Officer for Central Racine County Health Department. “We all are responsible for ensuring that our hospitals are not overwhelmed, protecting the safety of our healthcare workers, first responders and other frontline workers, and safeguarding our children, family members and community.”

CRCHD is reminding the public to follow the Wisconsin Department of Health Services guidance in its Slowing the Spread of COVID-19: Mitigation Strategies for Wisconsin Communities which can be found at www.crchd.com/covid-19.  The recommendations are based on overall community transmission and the associated risk to community members. As community risk increases, so may the chance of someone becoming infected.

“It’s clear that COVID-19 is still a major threat to public health,” Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said. “It’s imperative that residents continue to do all they can to protect themselves and others.”

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