(FOX 9) - The state of Wisconsin's 7-day case increase average continues to fall after nearly two months of increases.
The rate dipped below 4,000 for the first time since Oct. 23 Thursday. While numbers are heading in a promising direction, the state is likely to hit the 400,000-case milestone Friday.
The 7-day death increase average is 46 as of Thursday.
In hospitals, 86 percent of beds are full, leaving 1,549 available. 22 percent of beds are filled by ICU patients.
BY THE NUMBERS: Breaking down Wisconsin's exponential 2-month COVID-19 surge
The current COVID-19 spike in Wisconsin is larger than the spike New York City endured at the beginning of the pandemic, state health officials say. In a release, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk compared the current spike to that of New York City in spring.
“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,” Van Dijk said.
The pandemic so far
COVID-19 infections can often go undetected and be asymptomatic; laboratory-confirmed tests only represent a fraction of actual COVID-19 cases. A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that actual cases in some instances were six to 24 times greater than reported cases.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced an indoor mask mandate for people over the age of 5, which he extended until November 21. Face coverings while indoors except at a private residence have been required since Aug. 1.
Evers extended the state's stay-at-home order until May 26, but on May 13, the state Supreme Court blocked the extension, effectively opening all establishments in the state. Hours later, images emerged of packed bars across the state, leading the Governor to call his state "The Wild West." Evers' original "Safer at Home" order went into effect on March 25. In October, a judge did however allow Evers' mask mandate to remain in effect.
On April 4, President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for Wisconsin due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration allows for federal funding to be allocated to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that were impacted by the virus.
For more information, go to the state health department's website.
If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, you can Text COVID19 to 211-211, visit 211Wisconsin.org or call 211. Call volumes are high, so officials are asking people to be patient and try to use the text or online options first.
If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, health officials advise you to call your health care provider.