With an increase in the COVID-19 case average and an all-time high in reported hospitalizations, Dane County officials advise people to stay home and celebrate the upcoming holidays responsibly.
The number of hospitalizations in Dane County has increased every day in the past two weeks with the trajectory of overall hospitalizations in South Central Wisconsin expected to rise, according to Public Health Madison & Dane County. There are more hospitalizations now than at any other time during the pandemic, with a peak of 167 on Nov. 12. Within the 14-day period, one Dane County hospital reported at least one day of critical staffing shortages.
Dane County’s 14-day COVID-19 case average has also increased for the fifth consecutive week. The latest two-week snapshot taken by the public health department revealed an average of 364 cases per day with 5,094 active cases total.
The positivity metric, the rate at which people are testing positive, rose to 7.4% from 6.0% in a week. This metric indicates more widespread infections, and is currently above what PHMDC has deemed as the desired threshold.
Call for action
With rising cases and the current strain on hospitals that is only expected to grow, Gov. Tony Evers issued Executive Order #94 on Nov. 10 that urged Wisconsinites to stay home as much as possible. Following this, Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Public Health recommended best practices, such as avoiding travel or dining with people outside your household to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“I know this upcoming holiday season is going to be especially tough,” Evers said. “Folks, I am asking everyone to come together and take the steps needed to slow the spread of this virus. In doing so, we can protect our loved ones and save lives.”
While the order carried no legal action, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi publicly requested that state leaders take initiatives to mitigate the spread of the virus and sit with Gov. Evers to create a plan.
“Action, or in this case inaction, has consequences and it’s visibly on display in every hospital in this state right now,” Parisi wrote in a letter to the Legislature. “What we are seeing with hospitals re-directing patients or in the case of Madison hospitals, using up every available ICU bed before the coldest days of winter arrive, was entirely preventable.”
Parisi went on to urge the rest of Wisconsin to take action along with Dane County.
"Dane County enacted Public Health orders this summer that helped slow the progression of Covid-19 in our community. These orders remain the strictest in the state and the data shows they work,” he stated.