COVID-19 update for Tuesday, December 29, 2020
7-day average of new coronavirus cases drops to lowest amount since September, 72 new deaths reported
MADISON, Wis. (WBAY, WEAU) - State health officials report more than 2,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in Wisconsin Tuesday.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), 2,384 new results came back positive out of a total of 6,017 people who were tested for the coronavirus, which equals 39.62%, or one out of every three. Another 3,633 people tested negative for the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
In addition, 72 new COVID-19 deaths were reported by state health officials Tuesday, a day after the state reported 19 deaths. From Friday (Christmas Day) through Sunday, the state had reported a total of 18 deaths.
The seven-day average of new cases decreased slightly again for the second day in a row to 1,932. On Sunday, the average reached 1,949, and decreased to 1,934 on Monday. Our records show this is the lowest that figure has been since September 25, when it was 1,936.
The 14-day average also declined and is now at 2,296. That figure has declined daily since December 13, more than two weeks ago.
To date, 2,340,164 people have tested negative throughout the state since testing began earlier this year.
Locally: Eau Claire County tacked on 29 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the overall total to 9,118. Chippewa County adds 17 new cases for a total of 5,814. La Crosse and Dunn Counties each recorded one new death lined to COVID-19. New positive tests in La Crosse County rose by 42 and by 7 in Dunn County.
The 72 deaths reported by state health officials Tuesday brings Wisconsin’s cumulative death toll to 4,783. The first deaths were reported back in March.
Despite the uptick in deaths Tuesday, the 7-day average for COVID-19 deaths decreased to 34 from Monday’s average of 41. This is due to low numbers reported from Christmas weekend, when fewer than 10 deaths were reported each day.
After six straight days of the state’s death rate being 1.0% -- 1 out of 100 coronavirus cases resulting in death - Tuesday saw a slight increase in the rate to 1.01%. Before Thursday (Christmas Eve), the death rate had been below 1.0% since October 9.
Case and death numbers for Wisconsin counties listed by the Wisconsin DHS will be listed later in this article.
To date, 474,537 people tested positive for the coronavirus in Wisconsin since testing began. The DHS says the number of active cases is down to 28,761 people, which is 6.1% of all known cases. There are 440,857 people (92.9%) who are considered recovered. A person is considered recovered if it’s been 30 days since their diagnosis or onset of symptoms or were medically cleared, though some may feel lingering effects from their infection.
Another 170 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, according to the DHS on Tuesday. To date, 21,081 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment since February 5, which is 4.4% of all coronavirus cases. The seven-day average for hospitalizations decreased to 103.7 after a two-day increase.
The latest numbers from the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) show as of Monday, 1,113 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 across the state, an increase from Sunday’s report of 1,088 statewide hospitalizations. In addition, as of Monday, 237 were in ICU, down from 239, which was reported Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, there were 238 in the ICU. Daily changes in hospitalizations take new admissions, discharges and deaths into account.
The alternate care facility at the state fairgrounds helps relieve the strain on state hospitals by treating patients who are close to being discharged but still need some care, such as oxygen. State health officials say as of last Friday it’s treated 168 patients since it opened on October 14. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, there were no current patients at the facility. That marks the fifth straight day of no patients being at the alternate facility.
For hospital readiness, the WHA reported Sunday that 271 ICU beds (18.48%) and 2,264 of all types of medical beds (20.26%) -- ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation -- are open in the state’s 134 hospitals. These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19, and whether a bed can be filled depends on whether the hospital has the necessary medical and support staff.
In the Fox Valley region, 18 ICU beds (17.30%) and 153 of all medical beds (17.93%) were open among the 13 hospitals in those eight counties.
Meanwhile, the WHA stated in the Northeast region, 27 ICU beds (13.04%) and 218 of all medical beds (22.80%) are open among the 10 hospitals in seven counties.
The WHA reported little change from Sunday for hospitals with less than a 7-day supply of PPE (personal protective equipment): 18 hospitals need gowns, 14 need paper medical masks, 10 need goggles, and 7 need N95 masks.
COVID-19 Tracing App
Wisconsin’s COVID-19 tracing app, “Wisconsin Exposure Notification,” became available Wednesday for iOS and Android smartphones. No download is required for iPhones. The Android app is available on Google Play. When two phones with the app (and presumably their owners) are close enough, for long enough, they’ll anonymously share a random string of numbers via Bluetooth. If someone tests positive for the coronavirus, they’ll receive a code to type into the app. If your phones “pinged” each other in the last 14 days, you’ll receive a push notification that you are at risk of exposure. The app doesn’t collect personal information or location information, so you won’t know from whom or where, but you will be told what day the exposure might have occurred so that you can quarantine for the appropriate amount of time.
COVID-19 Home Testing
Gov. Tony Evers announced at-home COVID-19 testing kits will be made available -- for free -- to anyone who wants them. A person can test themselves or family members, even if they don’t have symptoms, then send it to a lab for testing. The Vault Medical Services kit is the first saliva test to get emergency-use authorization from the FDA and normally costs $119. CLICK HERE for details and a link to request a test kit.
As of Monday, December 28, the state has administered 47,157 COVID-19 vaccines. The state started giving out the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14. Moderna vaccinations started Dec. 22. In addition, 29,000 doses will be allocated to vaccinating residents and staff members at long-term care facilities. The state is updating vaccine information at dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine.htm.
As of Dec. 28, the state had administered 40,850 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 6,306 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
A total of 265,575 vaccines have been allocated to Wisconsin. The state says 156,875 vaccines have been shipped.
Wisconsin has also launched a COVID-19 vaccine data page that tracks the number of shots given out and shipped to the state. TRACK STATEWIDE VACCINE DATA HERE: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these as possible symptoms of COVID-19:
- Fever of 100.4 or higher
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- The coronavirus is a new, or “novel,” virus. Nobody has a natural immunity to it. Children and teens seem to recover best from the virus. Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the CDC. Precautions are also needed around people with developing or weakened immune systems.
- To help prevent the spread of the virus:
- Stay at least six feet away from other people
- Avoid close contact with people who are or appear sick
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates and nonessential appointments
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care
- Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask. At a minimum, use a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
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