The Dairyland Brew Pub opens to patrons in Appleton. A Wisconsin judge on Monday, Oct. 19, reimposed an order from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration limiting the number of people who can gather in bars, restaurants and other indoor venues to 25% of capacity. That decision was overturned in October. The issue of capacity limits was back before the Wisconsin Supreme Court Friday, Dec. 17. (William Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via AP File)
The Dairyland Brew Pub opens to patrons in Appleton. A Wisconsin judge on Monday, Oct. 19, reimposed an order from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration limiting the number of people who can gather in bars, restaurants and other indoor venues to 25% of capacity. That decision was overturned in October. The issue of capacity limits was back before the Wisconsin Supreme Court Friday, Dec. 17. (William Glasheen/The Post-Crescent via AP File)

Monday headlines: State death toll hits 1,600. The return of bar and restaurant restrictions. And more school districts are abandoning in-person classes.

Software upgrades to the state Department of Health Services coronavirus reporting system prevented daily reports from being issued over the weekend, but the return of statistics on Monday shows the spread of COVID-19 did not take a break in Wisconsin.

Following Friday’s 3,861 new coronavirus cases, a single-day record, the department’s Monday report recorded zero new cases for Saturday, 3,928 for Sunday, and 3,777 for Monday. The numbers will be inconsistent for a period as coronavirus test results catch up from the delay. For the past seven days, including no figure for Saturday, DHS reports 21,699 new cases, an average of 3,100 new coronavirus infections per day.

Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death toll stands at exactly 1,600 after 12 deaths were recorded for Sunday, 14 on Saturday, and no report for Saturday. 

The Wisconsin Hospital Association continued recording patient traffic across the state during the weekend, and on Monday reported a record number of total COVID-19 patients (1,172) as well as a record number of those patients in intensive care units (302).


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Doctor Says Bellin Hospital Almost Out of Space – Emergency Dr. Brad Burmeister of Bellin Health, based in northeastern Wisconsin, told WLUK-TV that Bellin Health is close to running out of space and warns against planning family gatherings this holiday season.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from patients that they did just one gathering since March, they got together for a grandkid’s birthday, they ended up acquiring COVID-19 and ended up being hospitalized,” Dr. Burmeister said.

Outbreak at Milwaukee Hospital Sickens at Least 15 More than a dozen people tested positive for COVID-19 at an inpatient rehabilitation unit this week at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, according to WTMJ-TV. The unit is for people recovering from strokes, cardiac arrests, cancer treatment, or serious injury. 

Rural Midwestern Hospitals Struggle to Handle Virus Surge – Wisconsin is not alone, according to a report from the Associated Press, that the brunt of coronavirus spread has migrated to the Upper Midwest and Great Plains. Since the area is mostly populated with small, rural communities, health officials worry that outbreaks could overwhelm communities with limited resources. 

“One or two people with infections can really cause a large impact when you have one grocery store or gas station,” said Misty Rudebusch, the medical director at a network of rural health clinics in South Dakota called Horizon Health Care. “There is such a ripple effect.”

Waukesha County Executive Tests Positive – Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he had tested positive for COVID-19 one week after learning that a family member had contracted the virus and fallen ill. Farrow said that when he heard, he self-quarantined in his home. In late July, Farrow criticized Gov. Evers’ mask requirement as going “too far.”

More Schools Districts Abandon In-Person ClassesWisconsin Public Radio reported that as new COVID-19 cases crop up, Wisconsin school districts must weigh whether to stay open for in-person classes or return to virtual learning. Some have done total closures, others close buildings where infections have spread, while other districts, such as Kenosha Unified School District, continue to offer in-person classes. Among the latest changes: Waukesha is planning to resume in-person classes next week (WDJT-TV), New Glarus is going all-virtual for two weeks (WISC-TV), and South Milwaukee schools ended in-person classes after less than a week due a rise in local cases (Journal Sentinel).