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Hospitalizations in north-central Wisconsin due to complications brought on by the novel coronavirus grew by 24% during a two-week period from Sept. 23-Oct. 6.

As of Monday, Price County has seen 24 residents hospitalized due to the virus — up by 10 since a week previous.

The Price County Public Health Department does not keep track of the number of current hospitalizations of county residents, according to Public Health Officer Michelle Edwards. Representatives of Marshfield Clinic's Flambeau Hospital have not responded to a request for information regarding current COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The majority of the county residents who have been admitted to the hospital are between the ages of 80-89, accounting for 37%. Those aged 50-59 account for 26%, age 60-69 account for 21%, and age 70-79 account for 16%.

According to information released by the Wisconsin Department of Health Service for the north-central region of the state, 77.8% of hospital beds and 72.2% of intensive care unit beds were in use as of Oct. 6, while 14.7% of ventilators were in use.

Edwards said that, concerningly, her department has begun hearing reports that some locals who are no longer contagious are now developing secondary health issues — including chronic shortness of breath, pneumonia, or infections. Edwards was unable to provide data on the numbers of individuals who are reporting these symptoms.

As of Monday, Price County has seen 253 confirmed cases of the virus, 52 of which were active as of that date. A total of 201 people have recovered and no related deaths have occurred. The county has had 3,227 negative test results.

According to a breakdown of COVID-19 data released by Price County Public Health on Oct. 9, the majority of locals who have contracted the virus are between the ages of 60-69 — a total of 50 people on that date. People age 0-9 account for seven cases, age 10-19 account for 13 cases, age 20-29 account for 21 cases, age 30-39 account for 18 cases, age 40-49 account for 29 cases, age 50-59 account for 38 cases, age 70-79 account for 29 cases, age 80-90 account for 11 cases, and two people older than age 90 have had the virus.

County residents with a Phillips address have made up the bulk of the positive cases (104 as of Oct. 9). Park Falls has had 45 cases, Ogema has had 19, Prentice has had 12, Fifield has had 11, the Brantwood and Tripoli area has had 10, Kennan has had seven, Catawba has had five, and Price County residents with a Rib Lake address account for three cases while county residents with a Butternut address account for two.

Edwards noted that the geographic region encompassing people with a Phillips address is far wider reaching than the city limits, which may account for the seemingly large case total in that section of the county.

Of those citizens who have tested positive in the past week, Edwards said several were household members of a previously confirmed COVID-19 positive individual. Edwards noted that this is a better outcome than new individuals testing positive in different households, since individuals sharing a house with a COVID-19 positive individual have already been quarantined — hopefully limiting the spread of the virus in the community.

Edwards also noted that it is practically impossible to avoid transmitting the virus to housemates, which makes it unsurprising that it has spread among family members who share a home.

This also simplifies the job of contact tracing as public health employees work to identify anyone a positive individual may have come into close contact with during the period of time they were contagious.

Although Price County Public Health struggled to keep up during the initial onslaught of new coronavirus cases in the county, the addition of two limited-term employees has relieved the pressure on the department’s four full-time employees. Three other county employees are also assisting with entering data on a part-time basis.

Schools

The number of quarantined Chequamegon School District students has increased since last week, with 39 of CSD’s 688 students in quarantine and two confirmed cases of the virus in students as of Monday. The district also had one confirmed case of the virus in a member of staff as of that date, with five members of staff in quarantine.

As of Monday, Phillips School District had no current positive cases in students, although 46 of 743 students were in quarantine. Two staff members had tested positive for the virus and six were in quarantine.

Park Manor

Last week, the Review reported that a visiting consultant to the skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility Park Manor in Park Falls had later tested positive for COVID-19. According to a press release issued by Park Manor on Oct. 9, all residents and staff were tested twice a week for the virus with no other positive cases emerging.

The twice-a-week testing at Park Manor will continue for 14-28 days until the facility has gone without a new positive for 14 days and Price County’s positive percentage drops below 10%.

Regional numbers

Wisconsin currently has tested 1,697,884 people for the virus, and 152,192 people have tested positive. As of Monday, 29,478 Wisconsinites actively had the virus, while 121,204 had recovered. Statewide, 8,454 hospitalizations and 1,474 deaths have been attributed to the virus.

Regionally, Oneida County had 241 active cases as of Monday, along with 14 current hospitalizations. Since the start of the pandemic, the county has logged 772 confirmed cases of the virus, 511 recoveries, 41 hospitalizations, and five deaths. A total of 10,518 tests have returned negative.

Vilas County currently has 135 active cases and zero current hospitalizations. There have been 359 confirmed cases, 222 recoveries, six hospitalizations, and three deaths. A total of 5,108 tests have returned negative.

Lincoln County currently has 79 active cases. Information on Lincoln County residents currently hospitalized was not available. There have been 439 confirmed cases, 357 recoveries, 34 hospitalizations, and three deaths. A total of 6,096 tests have returned negative.

Sawyer County currently has 48 active cases. Information on current hospitalizations in the county was not available. There have been 284 confirmed cases, 235 recoveries, 11 hospitalizations, and one death. A total of 4,952 tests have returned negative.

Rusk County currently has 35 active cases and zero current hospitalizations. There have been 102 confirmed cases, 66 recoveries, four hospitalizations, and one death. A total of 2,411 tests have returned negative.

Taylor County has had 290 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, resulting in 23 hospitalizations and four deaths. The county has not released information regarding those who have recovered or are currently ill. A total of 3,259 tests have returned negative.

Ashland County has had 197 confirmed cases, resulting in 12 hospitalizations and three deaths. A total of 47 people have recovered. The county’s public health department is reporting that 296 people are being actively monitored for the virus. A total of 3,415 tests have returned negative.

Iron County has had 153 confirmed cases, resulting in seven hospitalizations and one death. The county has not released current information on recoveries or active cases. A total of 1,608 tests have returned negative.

(Copyright © 2021 APG Media)

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