Health Officials Warn People to Stay Home This 4th of July Weekend
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Call comes as cases surge, especially among young adults. 

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge across Wisconsin, state public health officials are urging state residents to stay home during the busy Fourth of July weekend. 

A news release issued Thursday by the state Department of Health Services noted the spike in cases of the virus, with half of the state’s nearly 30,000 positive COVID-19 cases having occurred in the past five weeks and 20 percent of that total during the last two weeks. 

Much of the increase has been attributed to an infection rate increase among people ages 20-29, health department directors in the state said. Tracing of those cases has revealed many infections have occurred at taverns, they said. 

Of all COVID-19 cases, 23 percent have occurred in people in their 20s, DHS figures show. That number is far higher than in April, when it was 11 percent. 

“In order to help decrease the infection rate in our state, we need younger Wisconsinites to take more precautions like staying home, physical distancing, and wearing cloth face coverings whenever possible,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said in the release. 

Gov. Tony Evers echoed that sentiment, saying while the holiday is a time people like to gather, doing so remains dangerous as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb. 

“This message is especially important for younger people to hear,” the governor said. 

New COVID-19 cases from Wednesday to Thursday totaled 539, bringing the statewide total to 29,738. Seven new deaths were reported Thursday for a total of 793.

Thursday’s new cases in Wisconsin give the state 3,511 during the past seven days, the largest seven-day total since DHS began recording COVID-19 cases in March. There was a lengthy decline from a seven-day total of 3,353 on May 29 down to 1,861 on June 17 before the new surge began. 

The 539 newly confirmed coronavirus cases made up 4.2 percent of 12,878 total tests processed, marking a ninth straight day with a positivity rate of 4 percent or higher. The positivity rate is much higher in some parts of the state, such as Eau Claire County, which has seen 100 new cases in the past two weeks and 60 since last weekend, and where the rate for the past two weeks is 9.5 percent.

“We’re having a high positivity rate, and we’re seeing that increase over time,” Eau Claire City-County Health Department Director Lieske Giese said.  

Of the state’s total cases, 3,519 have required hospital care at some point, including 37 new hospitalizations in Thursday’s report from DHS. Currently there are 236 COVID-19 patients in hospitals (74 of those are in intensive care) and 143 other hospital patients awaiting test results.