Record-breaking COVID-19 hospitalizations, driven by Dane County and Fox Valley region

Posted at 8:01 PM, Sep 28, 2020

MILWAUKEE — Wisconsin is seeing record-breaking numbers when it comes to the COVID-19 both in positive cases and in hospitalizations. The high numbers seem to be coming from outside Milwaukee, in Dane County and the Fox Valley regions.

“We are seeing really concerning trends in the state,” said Dr. Ben Weston, medical director of Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the state is sitting at a 21.9-percent positivity rate. And over the weekend, Wisconsin broke its own record with 2,817 positive COVID-19 cases on Saturday.

“We have seen throughout the pandemic certain states whether its New York, Arizona, Texas, Florida, hit really high percent positive and in Wisconsin we have said ‘What are they doing wrong? What can we do to not get there?’ But that’s us now,” said Weston.

It is not just positive cases that are causing concern. Hospitalization rates are also soaring.

“There were 640 people hospitalized in Wisconsin today. That’s compared to mid-400 previous peak back in April, so troubling numbers and troubling trends statewide,” said Weston.

COVID testing advice, bewildering experts
FILE - In this July 24, 2020, file photo, healthcare worker Rahaana Smith instructs passengers how to use a nasal swab, at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

One of the biggest age groups driving those number, 18-24 year olds, and in Dane County that is often college students.

“We’re becoming one of the top hotspots in the country,” said Joe Parisi, county executive of Dane County, Wisconsin.

While Madison points to college students driving the numbers, Green Bay and the counties in the Fox Valley regions are dealing with another issue.

“I think what we are seeing right now is a lot of COVID fatigue,” said Claire Paprocki from the Brown County Health Department.

Officials say the driving factor of COVID-19 cases in the northwest region seems to be public and private gathering.

“We are seeing a lot of weddings where people are not masking and they are hugging and touching everyone. People go to rodeo and fairs and really pack themselves in there without masks. The mask mandate is in place but people aren’t following the mask mandate,” said Paprocki.

 wedding venue
Wedding venue (File Photo)

Brown County hospitals urged people to take precautions as health care systems near capacity. They are also worried if the surge happens, there might not be enough people to take care of COVID-19 patients because the number of workers available are low.

Health officials are urging people get back to the basics, stay 6 feet apart, practice good hand hygiene and wear a mask.

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