State rates COVID-19 activity ‘critically high’ in 65 counties

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services will add a new level to itsDisease Activity Dashboardtracking COVID-19's spread in the state.

The new designation, "critically high," represents COVID-19 activity "nearly three times higher" than the next lower level, according to a press release from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).

Sixty-five counties already qualify as having "critically high" COVID-19 case activity.

Previously, state health officials rated each county on a scale that ranged from "low" to "very high" based the how many people had contracted the disease over the previous two weeks after adjusting for population.

The new "critically high" designation requires 1,000 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents. "Very high," the next step down on the rating scale (and previous highest designation) represented a case rate of 350 per 100,000 residents.

"To put these new data in perspective, Wisconsin is now seeing more average cases per day than New York City did at the peak of its surge last spring," said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. "Because of these critically high levels of disease, public health can no longer adequately contact trace, hospital beds are filled with patients with COVID-19, and too many Wisconsin families are losing loved ones to this virus."

New infections have ballooned in Wisconsin and around the country in recent weeks. Record hospitalizations and deaths from the disease have been repeatedly broken over the last few days in the Badger State.

The alarming growth of the disease prompted Gov. Tony Evers to delivera statewide addresswhere he pleaded that Wisconsinites take the coronavirus seriously and work together to limit the spread.

The governor said he hoped that collective action would prevent more death and suffering.

More at WKOW 27 News

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