Wisconsin recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases on a single day Thursday, as state leaders continue to plead residents to take the deadly virus seriously.
The Department of Health Services tallied 7,497 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, raising the seven-day average of cases to an all-time high of 6,209. Wisconsin also recorded 58 new deaths, raising the death toll since the pandemic began to 2,515 and the seven-day average of deaths due to the virus to 48.
Gov. Tony Evers and top health officials continued their message to residents to stay home and stay safe at a press conference Thursday, just two days after the governor issued a new executive order asking, but not ordering, the same.
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"Science is clear, folks. If we don't act now, and if we don't treat this pandemic like the urgent crisis it is, Wisconsin could lose thousands of our friends, family, loved ones and fellow Wisconsinites by the end of the year," Evers said.
DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Williams Van Dijk said that "we are in a crisis as a state."
"COVID-19 isn't someone else's problem. It's ours," Williams Van Dijk said as she compared the level of cases in Wisconsin to New York City last summer. Williams Van Dijk explained that Thursday's seven-day average of 6,209 is in fact higher than NYC's highest average recorded, 5,292, during that city's moment of crisis. "And our population is smaller by 2.5 million people," Williams Van Dijk added.
Watch Thursday's press conference here:
The Deputy Secretary also reminded residents that the cases and deaths are so high across the state, the DHS had to add a new category on its Disease Activity Dashboard: "Critically high." All but seven of the state's counties have been placed in the critically high category, with the remaining seven placed in the next highest, "very high," in case activity.
In its daily report, DHS further recorded 66,873 active cases and 2,077 active hospitalizations. At least 223,937 people have recovered from the virus since the pandemic began.
The state's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard expressed concern that hospitals will run out of staff before space.
"Hospitals when can't accommodate and safely care for people have to divert to other hospitals, refuse transfers from other hospitals. We're very close to that happening in certain areas," said Dr. Westergaard.
With the upcoming holidays Milwaukee area leaders joined the call for people to stay home as much as possible, noting the virus' surge is largely due to gatherings of any size.
"This morning I had the opportunity to talk with several schools in the greater Greenfield area and many had indicated to us that students and families reported going to a Halloween party and that's where the exposure was," said Darren Rausch, Health Officer with the Greenfield Health Department.
Another record-setting day in our state, but again, nothing to be proud of. Your #COVID19_WI update shows a new daily high 7,497 confirmed cases reported. Please, stay home if you can, stay 6' from others, and #MaskUpWisconsin. #YouStopTheSpread: https://t.co/azIna3TqRR pic.twitter.com/FBCjL8KWLe— WIDeptHealthServices (@DHSWI) November 12, 2020
To see more data about the pandemic within the state of Wisconsin, click here.