Wisconsin sets daily record for virus cases, again

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A paramedic takes swabs to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through at the San Paolo hospital, in Milan, Italy, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020. Coronavirus infections are surging again in the region of northern Italy where the pandemic first took hold in Europe, renewing pressure on hospitals and health care workers. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin hit a new daily high for positive coronavirus cases for the second time this week on Thursday, a surge that the state’s chief health officer called a crisis.

There were 3,747 new cases reported Thursday, breaking the record of 3,279 set on Tuesday. To date, there have been more than 162,000 positive cases and 1,553 deaths. Hospitalizations were at a daily high of 1,017 on Wednesday, the same day the state opened a field hospital outside of Milwaukee to handle overflow patients.

As of Thursday, the hospital had yet to admit anyone, said Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm.

Wisconsin’s surge began in early September when the seven-day average of new cases was around 700. Two weeks later that had doubled and it is now 2,927, Palm said.

“This is going to get worse before it gets better,” Palm said. “Wisconsin is in crisis and we need to take this seriously.”

Evers last week issued an order limiting capacity to many indoor places, including bars and restaurants. A judge earlier this week blocked that order in response to a lawsuit filed by the Tavern League of Wisconsin. Republican lawmakers and the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty have sued to end the statewide mask mandate.

Both lawsuits argue that Evers exceeded his authority with the orders.

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