Wisconsin metro areas top charts for COVID-19 case increases in New York Times analyses

State and county COVID-19 data analyzed by The Upshot shows the state of Wisconsin has six metro areas in the top 20 in the U.S. in both average daily cases and where cases are increasing the fastest.

According to The Upshot, a New York Times subsidiary that analyzes data, the La Crosse, Wisconsin metro area has the highest average daily cases over the last two weeks in the United States with 77 new cases per 100,000 people.

Appleton (6th), Oshkosh-Neenah (8th), Green Bay (9th), Platteville (10th) and Stevens Point (12th) also made the list of the top 20 average daily cases over the past two weeks.

The entire state of Wisconsin has seen a 99 percent case increase over the last two weeks, which is the highest rate in the nation.

The Upshot also analyzes where cases are growing the fastest over the past week. In that metric, the Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin metro area topped the list after reporting 874 total cases this week after reporting 371 one week ago.

Platteville (6th), Marinette (10th), Appleton (12th), La Crosse (13th) and Green Bay (20th) also made the list of metro areas where new cases are increasing the fastest.

Wednesday marked the ninth consecutive day with more than 1,200 new COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin. The 7-day case increase average is a pandemic-high 1,889.

Just more than 13 percent of tests returned positive Wednesday, bringing the 7-day percent positive average to 16.9 percent, a pandemic high for the state. 

COVID-19 in Wisconsin

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 Sept. 22.  Face coverings while indoors except at a private residence are required as of Saturday, 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. 

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.

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.