Wisconsin reports 84 deaths on Saturday as COVID-19 cases continue to fall

(Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

As other COVID-19 numbers trend downward, Wisconsin reported 84 deaths on Saturday, the fourth highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic.

After dropping off from record highs earlier in the month, the seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths has started to rise again, data shows. After falling from a high average of 61 deaths on December 6 to 44 deaths on December 17, the average has once again climbed back up to 51.

Experts say death reports typically lag behind COVID-19 spikes, which may account for the continued high totals while cases keep going down.

The state's seven-day averages for cases (3,047) and positivity rate (26.9 percent) are both at the lowest levels since mid-October. Saturday, Wisconsin reported 3,675 new COVID-19 cases.

The state also reported another 122 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Saturday, pushing the state to 20,000 hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic. Of more than 455,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 90.6 percent have recovered and 4,399 (1 percent) have died.

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.