Health officials report another day of record-high COVID-19 numbers in Wisconsin

NOW: Health officials report another day of record-high COVID-19 numbers in Wisconsin


MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Health officials announced Wednesday, Nov. 4, another record day of COVID-19 numbers in Wisconsin. 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported 5,935 COVID-19 cases and 54 deaths. 

State health officials are asking people to be more aggressive in stopping the spread of coronavirus, they say Wednesday’s record number of cases just proves how much of a crisis this is for the state. 

This record number of nearly 6,000 reported cases Wednesday is being paired with a demand for hospital beds. According to Wisconsin DHS, only 13-percent of hospital beds remain available as of Wednesday. 

“All the things we’re doing have kept it in check- but we’re just not doing it well enough, we’re not doing them aggressively enough and the strategies are there, the evidence is there,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

The 7-day average for cases now sits at 4,839 for the state. 

“Two months ago it was 767, that’s an increase of 531-percent in just 8 weeks,” said Andrea Palm, secretary-designee, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

“It is affecting every Wisconsin community, we have statewide community spread,” says Governor Tony Evers.

Palm says hospitals are telling DHS they are at their limits for accepting patients, she says there’s no state in the country that’s seen this kind of strain. 

“For their hospital beds and for their ICU beds, this means that hospitals are at or near capacity and their options are limited,” she adds.

Palm says hospital staffing shortages are happening all around the state. As of Wednesday, nearly 12,000 COVID-19 cases are health care workers.                               

“We certainly are at risk across the state for shortages and folks are gonna need to be prepared all around,” says Palm. 

Palm says masks, handwashing and distancing all work well, but people need to work even harder if they want to see things go in the right direction.

"The more people limit their human contact only to those that they live with, the sooner we will see this virus recede,” she adds. 

“We need to do it more aggressively to prevent transmission,” said Dr. Westergaard. 

On top of the record cases and hospital burden, state officials say it’s also been quite difficult for public health departments to maintain contact tracing with the amount of cases they’re seeing.

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