Coronavirus hospitalization rate in Wisconsin may be as high as 20 percent

Posted at 2:49 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 15:55:57-04

The hospitalization rate for those who have contracted COVID-19 in Wisconsin is higher than we previously thought, the state Department of Health Services said at its daily news conference Tuesday.

As many as 20 percent of those who have the disease associated with the novel coronavirus in Wisconsin need hospitalization, DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard. A figure of 10 percent was reported at Monday's news conference.

"I had said that we had about 10 percent of individuals tested positive for COVID-19 that were hospitalized. In reality, we believe that number is higher, probably as high as 20 percent," Dr. Westergaard said.

The discrepancy in figures comes from the way the state collects information about positive cases. The state uses numbers from reference labs rather than hospitals themselves, Westergaard explained. In many cases, the information about whether or not a patient is hospitalized is missing in those numbers.

"One of the things we're really working hard to do is to develop new, better, and innovative strategies" to improve this data, he said.

That 20 percent number is on the lower end of ranges for hospitalization rates across the US, according to data from the CDC. For all age groups, data as of March 16 shows rates of 20.7-31.4 percent.

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