DRIFTLESS - Over the past week, from Monday, April 27 to Monday, May 4, we’ve seen some counties in the region holding steady with numbers of infections, and some seeing significant increases.
The State of Wisconsin saw an increase of 2,182 cases, going from 6,081 to 8,263. The number of deaths increased by 59, and the total number of negative tests increased by 19,156.
New testing criteria
State epidemiologist Dr. Ryan Westergaard said Monday that health officials have expanded the number of symptoms for which someone should get a coronavirus test — fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, headache, chills, muscle aches, and loss of taste or smell.
Westergaard said the state wants tested “people who are symptomatic with any symptoms that could be indicative of COVID-19” or anyone possibly exposed to someone with the coronavirus.
Westergaard said the state’s goal is not to create “herd immunity … I think that our goal is to prevent transmission” to a “sufficient level … we don’t know what that number is.”
He said herd immunity is “not a viable option” because it “would cause many preventable deaths.”
Also in COVID-19-related developments:
• The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Monday that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and EIDL Advance programs. The EIDL portal opened Monday for application. Elibible businesses are ag businesses engaged in the legal production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries with 500 or fewer employees.
• The issued another emergency order that no Medicaid recipient will lose coverage during the COVID-19 emergency, a federal requirement to receive federal funding. Nurses also can bill Medicaid for overtime. The order also waives prior authorization requirements for some drugs and limits on refills and days supply that can be purchased by Medicaid recipients. The order allows for telehealth and other electronic communications within mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs, and suspends the requirement that emergency mental health services, community support programs, and community substance abuse services must be delivered in a face-to-face setting.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health Services along with the State Emergency Operations Center launched hospital gating criteria as part of the Badger Bounce Back Plan. The criteria, developed with input from the Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, sets hospital metrics to be able to move into Phase 1 of the Badger Bounce Back Plan.
Hospital gating criteria address both patient care and hospital staff health. The metrics set the following goals:
• 95 percent of hospitals affirm that they can treat all patients without crisis care.
• 95 percent of all hospitals affirm that they have arranged for testing for all symptomatic clinical staff treating patients at the hospital per CDC guidelines.
• Downward trend of COVID-19 cases among health care workers calculated weekly.
Key to these metrics is the definition of “crisis care,” which is characterized by the Institute of Medicine as "extreme operating conditions.” To determine whether or not a hospital is operating with or without “crisis care,” the following questions will be monitored daily:
• Is the facility damaged/unsafe, or are non-patient care areas are being used by the facility for patient care?
• Are trained staff unavailable or unable to adequately care for the volume of patients even with extension techniques?
• Are critical supplies lacking, resulting in reallocation of life-sustaining resources and/or other extreme operating conditions?
• An affirmative answer to all three of these questions for three or more consecutive days will indicate that a hospital is operating under that provision of crisis care.
Crawford Countysaw an increase of four cases, going from three on Monday, April 27 to seven on Monday, May 4. The number of negative tests increased by 58, and there have been no deaths in the county. Three confirmed cases have recovered.
Vernon Countysaw an increase of one case, going from one to two. The number of negative tests increased by 106, and there have been no deaths.
Richland Countysaw an increase by two cases, going from 10 to 12. The number of negative tests increased by 51, and the number of deaths in the county remains at one.
Monroe Countysaw no new cases in the last week, negative tests increased by 166, and the number of deaths in the county remains at one.
Juneau Countyhas seen an increase of three cases in the last week, going from 15 to 18. The number of deaths in the county remains at one.
LaCrosse Countyhas seen an increase in new cases in the last week of five, and there have been no deaths in the county.
Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 22 cases in the last week, going from 32 to 54. In addition, there have been two additional deaths in the county, bringing the total number of deaths to seven.
Lafayette Countyhas seen an increase of two cases in the last week, going from four to six. There have been no deaths in the county.
Iowa Countyhad held the number of cases in the county steady at seven for the last week, and there have been no deaths in the county.
The State of Iowahas seen an increase of 3,835 cases in the last week, going from 5,868 to 9,703. The number of negative tests has increased by 19,011, and the number of deaths has increased by 61.
Allamakee Countyhas seen an increase of 27 cases in the last week, going from 72 to 99. There have been no new deaths in the last week, with the number lost remaining at three.
Clayton Countyhas seen an increase of five cases in the last week, going from 12 to 17. The number of deaths in the county remains at one.Dubuque Countyhas seen an increase in cases in the last week of 65, going from 87 to 152. The number of deaths in the county increased by three, going from two to five.