Wisconsin Has First Two Coronavirus Deaths

Wisconsin Has First Two Coronavirus Deaths


By Jessica VanEgeren

March 19, 2020

Update: Report from Milwaukee could be 3rd death

Two Wisconsin men become the first victims of the deadly coronavirus, with Gov. Tony Evers confirming the deaths Thursday night.

The first death was a man in his 50’s from Fond du Lac County. The second death was a man in his 90’s from Ozaukee County.

[Update: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Friday morning that a Milwaukee man in his mid-60s with an extensive medical history has died from complications related to the coronavirus, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office.]

“Our hearts go out to all the loved ones affected by these deaths, and to all those suffering from this virus,” said Evers in a statement. “We are committed to fighting the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and I want to recognize the hard work and bravery of our nurses, doctors, state health officials, and all those on the front lines in the effort to save lives. Together, we will get through this historic health challenge.”

Wisconsin is prioritizing testing for COVID-19, right now, because of a shortage of ingredients needed to run the tests, according to the governor’s statement. 

The statement added “it is important that we reserve our testing capacity for individuals who are critically ill and healthcare workers on the front lines.”

“This will keep our healthcare workforce safe and healthy and help stop the spread of the virus,” said the statement. “Many states across the country are grappling with this same problem.”

Prior to the announcement, nurses told Up North News they are being forced to use single-use, protective masks multiple times because of a shortage. 

The announcement by the governor came five hours after the routine 2 p.m. update from the state Department of Health Services. At that time, the number of confirmed positive cases in the state was 155, an increase of 46 percent, or 49 cases, from Wednesday. The number of people who have tested negative for the coronavirus is 2,192.

Prior to Thursday, community spread was occurring in Milwaukee, Dane and Kenosha counties. It is now occurring in Brown County as well. Community spread indicates individuals are catching and testing positive for the virus without knowingly having any prior contact with someone else who traveled to high-risk areas or otherwise tested positive. 

As the number of cases continues to climb, so does its reach across the state with at least one infected person in 21 of the state’s 72 counties. Patients can now be found in counties along the eastern stretch of the state, in the western portion of the state in Eau Claire, Pierce and La Crosse Counties and one of the state’s northernmost areas, Bayfield County.

The highest concentration of positive patients continues to be Milwaukee County with 62, Dane County with 27 and Fond du Lac with 14. 

By county: Milwaukee 62, Dane 27, Fond du Lac 14, Waukesha 12, Sheboygan 6, Winnebago 5, Kenosha and Columbia 4 each; Racine and Ozaukee 3 each; Brown, La Crosse, Walworth and Washington 2 each; and one each in Bayfield, Calumet, Eau Claire, Outagamie, Pierce, Sauk and Wood.

(Editor’s Update: Minutes after the daily update from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services was published, UpNorthNews was able to confirm Chippewa and Dunn Counties’ first positive COVID-19 cases. Those cases will first be included in the daily statewide number on Friday and give Wisconsin its 22nd and 23rd county with a positive case.


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