COVID-19 death rate triples in a single month

The 7-day rolling average has increased from 18 to 54 in a month
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 2:51 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The average number of people in Wisconsin dying from complications related to COVID-19 keeps increasing and shows few signs of slowing down soon, new Dept. of Health Services numbers show.

Friday’s report saw the seven-day rolling average grow to 54 deaths per day, three times Wisconsin’s death rate just one month ago. Back on October 20, health officials were reporting an average of 18 deaths per day.

With 78 more coronavirus-related deaths reported in the past day, the three deadliest days in Wisconsin history have all come since Tuesday, according to the agency’s latest daily update. Additionally, all 20 of the 20 state’s deadliest days have occurred in the past month

With the latest numbers, the state has lost 2,954 people to coronavirus and it will likely pass 3,000 over the weekend.

Average new cases hold steady

The seven-day rolling average for new COVID-19 cases slipped slightly Friday after the Dept. of Health Services reports fewer than 7,000 people people tested positive for the virus. In fact, the 6,473 new cases recorded Friday is approximately 1,300 fewer cases than this time last week.

That decline allowed the seven-day rolling average to fall to 6,254 cases per day, which is very near 6,442 cases per day average last Friday, DHS reports show. The week-long plateau comes in contrast to the steady, nearly unrelenting growth over the past two months. Only once since early September had the case rate held this steady over a week. For perspective, in the week leading up to last Friday, the seven-day rolling average jumped by more than 1,000 cases per day.

In all, DHS has tallied 344,945 cases since the pandemic began.

DHS’ daily tracker gives little indication, however, that the trend over the past week will necessarily last. It’s case activity tracker shows all but one county in the state is seeing critically-high case activity. On top of that, a third of Wisconsin counties are not only seeing critically-high activity, DHS numbers show the situation is getting worse.

The newly created level reflects more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents over a two week period. On Thursday, Dane Co. public health officials noted the county had passed that threshold by pointing out one out of every 100 Dane Co. residents tested positive over the previous 14 days. (See chart at the end of the story)

86% of Hospital Beds Filled

DHS’ latest update shows 190 more COVID-19 patients were admitted into Wisconsin hospitals over the past day. The fewer new patients over the past day allowed for a slight decline in the number of infected patients currently hospitalized and a dip in the percentage of occupied beds. But, with 86 percent of beds filled statewide, many Wisconsin hospitals remain in crisis mode.

On Thursday, Wisconsin Hospital Association President Eric Borgerding wrote Thursday to Evers and both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders.

He says the governor and lawmakers should take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, address immediate hospital bed shortages and staffing needs, create alternative care facilities and expand contact tracing.

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