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COVID on the rise: Wisconsin now averaging more than 2,000 cases a day as North Central Region sees more than 1,000 cases in the last week

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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin is now averaging more than 2,000 cases a day.

The last time cases were this high was in January when COVID-19 vaccines were just starting to be made more available to elderly populations.

All counties in the North Central Wisconsin region except for one is experiencing “very high” COVID-19 activity level.

Forest County’s case rate is higher than the others putting it in the “critically high” category. It’s one of only two counties in the state at that level.

More than 1,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last week in the North Central Region which extends from the Upper Peninsula border down to Wood and Portage Counties.

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According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, more than 110 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the region with 29 of them in the ICU.

As of Thursday afternoon, only two ICU beds in the region were immediately available.

As the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations rise, so do the number of deaths.

Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida, and Forest County all reported new deaths this week.

Just over the border, Gogebic and Iron County, Michigan are also experiencing high levels of COVID-19 activity level.

Gogebic County has reported 29 new cases in the last week.

Iron County has 139 active cases.

Due to the increase in cases, the Dickinson-Iron County Health Department has issued a mask order for Kindergarten through Grade 6 schools in the counties.

Masks must be worn in schools by students and staff.

It goes into effect Monday and stays in place until a vaccine is available for those age groups, cases start going down, or the health director reverses the decision.

The health department says of 382 COVID cases reported since September 1st, school-aged children have accounted for 37% of the cases.

Health officials are urging people to get tested for COVID if they need to, stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, wear a mask if you need to be in public and get vaccinated if you’re not already.