More than 1,200 people test positive for COVID-19 in Wisconsin, 2nd Dane Co. death confirmed

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has released updated numbers on the amount of coronavirus cases in the state.

News 3 Now continues to update the numbers as individual counties release their totals. There have been 1,278 positive tests and 20 deaths.

This includes a second death reported in Dane County.

There are 192 positive cases in Dane County, 15 cases in Rock County and 13 cases in Sauk County.

More than half of the cases and deaths are in Milwaukee County, with 663 positive cases and 10 deaths reported.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Gov. Tony Evers said “we are heading into the worst of this.”

“I’m sure many of us would like to wake from this nightmare tomorrow morning and say it never happened, but the responsible thing to do is plan for the worst and hope for the best, so that’s exactly what we’re doing here in Wisconsin,” said Evers.

He said the state is working with tribal and health partners to set up voluntary isolation centers across the state and working with the Army Corps of Engineers “to ensure that field hospitals and facilities will be ready when the surge of acute cases begins to hit our healthcare systems in the coming weeks.”

Experts believe the number of cases in Wisconsin will peak in about two weeks.

DHS is partnering with companies such as Epic, Promega and Exact Sciences to double the state’s lab testing capacity.

“Testing will still require a doctor’s order and these partners are not testing sites themselves. They will be receiving and processing the tests that are completed by healthcare providers,” said Secretary-designee Andrea Palm with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Evers said along with DHS, one of the state agencies that needs additional help is the Department of Workforce Development.

“Last week more than 115,000 new preliminary unemployment insurance applications were filed with the DWD. That’s 115,000 in one week. The UI (Unemployment Insurance Division) call center also received more than 1.5 million calls in that same time period, which is an increase of 6,208% over their average weekly call volume,” said Evers. “Just to underscore how significant the need is for these benefits – last Thursday DWD received 400,000 calls between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. At one time they were averaging 160 calls per second.”

He said DWD has hired 35 more staff members to answer phones and they can now get 690 calls at once, but they still need 80 additional staff to answer the phones.

DWD is encouraging people to apply for unemployment online to make the process faster and easier.