As COVID-19 case numbers surge throughout the state and death tolls rise, the Sauk County Public Health Department announced Thursday that it had broken a record for its number of new coronavirus cases and that another person had died as a result of the virus.
According to an announcement from the department, there have been 214 new cases diagnosed in county residents at an average of more than 15 new cases each day as of Thursday.
“That is Sauk County’s highest number of new cases” over two weeks than ever before. In August, the average was less than nine new cases per day, according to the announcement.
According to totals compiled by News Republic staff, Sauk County case numbers have also been increasing by double digits each day over two weeks. There were 806 total positive cases Sept. 21. As of Thursday, the total has reached 965.
Columbia County added 39 cases to its total as of noon Friday. There are 150 active cases. The numbers there have also been gradually increasing over the last two weeks.
According to totals compiled by the Daily Register staff, the number of cases increased by 43 Sept. 21, adding double-digit numbers every day but one in the two week period. There were 87 new cases over the weekend between Sept. 25 and Monday. During that period, hospitalizations also increased from two to six in Columbia County.
Numbers posted Friday on the county health website, there have been a total of 737 positive cases in Columbia County. The number of COVID-19 related deaths has remained at three.
Aspirus Healthcare, which now includes Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital in Portage, announced Friday it would limit visitors at all of its locations across Wisconsin to minimize the possible spread of respiratory infections. Examples in the announcement included COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, commonly referred to as RSV, which is a highly contagious virus which mainly affects children under 2 years old. According to the CDC, RSV is the highest cause of bronchitis and pneumonia, which can greatly harm both infants and older people.
Visitors will be restricted at Divine Savior. In Aspirus clinics, only one adult will be allowed for patients with caregiving needs. Visitation will not be restructured during end of life situations, but care teams will manage at their discretion. The only COVID-19 patients allowed visitors will be children and those near death.
Only the person going into labor and one support person will be allowed during the delivery of babies. In cancer and dialysis treatment centers, patients will be allowed a single support person. For patients under 18, two primary adult supporters will be permitted, and in surgery or procedure locations, a single adult support person is recommended to wait in their vehicle or a designated location.
No visitors will be allowed at Portage senior living center Tivoli at Divine Savior Healthcare. According to the announcement, family members “with special circumstances” can contact the center to talk about the possibility of a visitation.
All Aspirus locations require visitors to wear face masks and will restrict anyone who shows signs of respiratory symptoms.
Active cases in Sauk County increased by 13 between Wednesday and Thursday to a total of 121. The health department advised residents to continue maintaining social distance practices and wearing a face covering in public to defend against COVID-19.
Sauk County Health Officer Tim Lawther noted in the announcement that the county has “definitely been going in the wrong direction” and that “now is not the time to reduce our vigilance, or reduce the protective measures put in place.”
“We cannot keep going back and forth on when we implement those basic protective measures and when we don’t,” Lawther said. “We need to do it until we end this thing. It is inconvenient, yes, but it is also the only way we’ll get back to our normal community life.”
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