Wisconsin surpasses 2,000 COVID-19 deaths as state sets another record for new cases

Wisconsin has moved past another grim milestone on Saturday as the state's COVID-19 death toll hit 2,000.

With 59 deaths reported on Saturday, Wisconsin now stands at 2,031. At the same time, the state reported 5,278 new cases, the highest single-day total. It's also only the second time in two days that Wisconsin has reported more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases.

The percent positive rate average was above 28 percent for the first time as well. Experts say anything over 5 percent is a concern.

Currently, 85 percent of COVID-19 hospital beds are full in the state and 23 percent of those are ICU patients. More than 11,000 people have been hospitalized with the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. 

175,096 people have recovered from the virus to date, about 77.7 percent. More than 48,000 cases are still considered active. 

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 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. 

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.