Wisconsin surpasses 80,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases

Wisconsin has surpassed another unfortunate COVID-19 milestone as the state passes 80,000 confirmed cases of the disease.

Saturday, the state health department reported 946 new cases of COVID-19 with 15 deaths, bringing the death toll since the start of the pandemic to 1,168.

The positivity rate also remained over 10 percent at 11.8 percent following a spike in cases the day before.

Friday, the state of Wisconsin reported 1,498 new positive cases, which would have been the state's highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. There were also 10,204 new negative test results. But state health officials said the unusual increase was due to a reporting issue that had been rectified.

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 last month an indoor mask mandate for people over the age of 5. 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.