Case count keeps climbing

The number of reported cases of COVID-19 infections keeps right on rising in Barron County, totaling 3,307 as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. The death toll now stands at 37, an increase of two over the count reported last Tuesday. Cases reported last Tuesday stood at 2,754.

COVID-19 case counts have averaged close to 100 per day this past week in Barron County. In the week of Nov. 17 to Nov. 23, 586 cases were reported. Throw in the 537 reported Nov. 16, and about one-third of the county’s 3,307 have come in a span of 10 days. At 3,307 cases, one in 14 of county residents have contracted the virus, making Barron County one of the hottest spots in an increasingly red outbreak map across the Midwest and country as a whole.

Among those, 37 people have died in Barron County, including two in the past week. Wisconsin as a whole has lost more than 3,000 people to COVID-19.

Wisconsin ranks ninth in the country for cases per 100,000 people in the past week. Barron County has the third highest rate in the state at 196 per 100,000, behind only Jackson and Trempealeau counties, at 241 and 235, respectively.

On Friday, Gov. Tony Evers on Friday, Nov. 20, declared a new public health emergency in Wisconsin as Wisconsin’s hospitals are operating at or very near full capacity and healthcare providers are struggling to keep up with the demand for care.

“The current surge in cases is overwhelming our hospitals,” said Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “We know hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, which means we will need even more capacity for our hospitals in the coming weeks with our current cases. We need every Wisconsinite to take this seriously to stay home. That is why it is imperative we take action to curb transmission now – to protect residents of Wisconsin in every corner of the state.”

Where do the numbers come from?

The COVID-19 cases numbers released each weekday at 2 p.m. by Barron County Public Health are compiled from state data, which updates at 4 a.m. each morning.

For example, the numbers recorded Wednesday, Nov. 25, are all cases reported from 4:01 a.m. on the Nov. 24 to 4:00 a.m. on Nov. 25.

Positive and negative COVID test results are electronically sent to local health departments through the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS) from the lab conducting the test.

“As a double check, local public health nurses are required to review the lab reports and before positive tests are reported to the public/state,” said Sarah Turner, “The public health nurse must go into the WEDSS system and change the case from ‘suspect to confirmed.’”

Sometimes numbers have fluctuated widely from one day to the next. This is due to the varied nature by which health care providers report test results.

“Each have their own way of reporting; some report one-by-one, some in batches,” she said.