This State Is Officially "In a Crisis" With COVID, Officials Say
Officials are shining a light on this state's troubling coronavirus numbers.
Overall, the coronavirus case count in the United States is back on the rise. Some states' small upticks are causing more worry than others—like New York's slight spike, a notable change following months of stability after being the country's first epicenter. But that's not the only state drawing eyes. In fact, some smaller, less obvious states are starting to raise alarms as well. According to state officials, Wisconsin is officially "in a crisis" with COVID.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 2,367 new COVID cases on Sept. 29, bringing the state's total number of cases to almost 120,000. And just a few days earlier, on Sept. 26, Wisconsin set a state record for the most new cases reported in one day with 2,817. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the positivity rate for the state's coronavirus tests is now around 20 percent.
"We are in a crisis right now," Ryan Westergaard, the state health department's chief medical officer said during a press conference on Sept. 29. "Turning the corner on this requires that we do things dramatically different than what we're doing. It requires all of society—all of Wisconsin—to do things differently to reduce the transmission."
Westergaard said that it did not help that the country was heading into the fall and winter—a time of the year in which respiratory diseases usually thrive anyway. "The likelihood that this is going to get much worse before it gets better is a real one," he said.
Just about two weeks prior, the state had yet to surpass 2,000 new cases in one day. But on Sept. 17, The New York Times reported that the state had broke through with 2,118 new cases reported. And since then, they've crossed that threshold many times, causing an average daily case increase of 76 percent from the average just two weeks prior. This rising infection rate forced Wisconsin governor Tony Evers to declare a new public health emergency for the state on Sept. 22.
"Right now, it's not slowing down; it's picking up speed," Evers said about the coronavirus spread during the Sept. 29 press conference. "We have got to put the brakes on this pandemic."
The governor has encouraged residents to take things more seriously through the combined effort of wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding congregating in groups with people they do not live with. And Wisconsin's statewide mask mandate was extended until Nov. 21 with the governor's new public health emergency declaration.
"Over the last few weeks, we've seen an increase in people carrying on business as usual; hosting parties, hitting the bars and heading to weddings. Folks, it isn't safe," the governor said. "This virus is real and it's devastating our communities and will continue to do so until we all get on the same team." And for more states in need of intervention, Dr. Fauci Says This One State Is "Asking for Trouble."