DHS starts reporting long-term care, group housing cases
The Department of Health Services began reporting this week on the number of COVID-19 cases in long-term care and group housing facilities.
DHS said Wednesday that there were 334 confirmed cases in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, around 7 percent of the 4,845 confirmed cases in the state.
There were 97 cases in group housing facilities, which include correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes.
“We are working to be transparent and help people across the state understand where the disease is affecting people,” Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk told reporters Wednesday. “We know that this disease is particularly virulent for the oldest members of our society.”
About 38 percent, or 1,852 cases, were not in a group housing facility. And 53 percent, or 2,562, were unknown.
The data on group housing for around half of the cases are unknown since DHS has only systematically collected the information since April 8.
DHS did include data before April 8 for cases that were identified as part of an investigation into an outbreak at a long-term care or other group housing facility.
DHS also reported an increase of 225 cases, the single-day highest increase yet in Wisconsin. The agency said that could be connected to an increase in testing.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer of the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said the increase could be related to outbreaks at the food processing plants and long-term care facilities.
“We’re not out of the woods,” he said at a State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee meeting Thursday. “I think we have a number of hot spots and a high potential for ongoing community spread.”
There were 49,502 negative tests in the state as of Wednesday. The number of deaths increased by four to 246.
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