Wisconsin reports 6,473 new coronavirus cases, 78 additional deaths

Evers to extend mask mandate as virus strains hospitals
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin health officials reported a record-high 6,473 new COVID-19 cases and 78 deaths Wednesday.

The latest record of 7,989 cases was set on Thursday.

The state also set a record for the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in a single day Tuesday, with 92.

The seven-day positivity rate dropped to 16.9. The state has recorded a total of 344,945 cases and 2,954 deaths from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

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The leader of the Wisconsin Hospital Association is pleading with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and state legislative leaders to come together immediately to fight the virus before the current crisis becomes a catastrophe.

Hospital Association President Eric Borgerding wrote Thursday to Evers and both Republican and Democratic legislative leaders. He says the governor and lawmakers should take steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, address immediate hospital bed shortages and staffing needs, create alternative care facilities and expand contact tracing. Republican legislative leaders and Evers were scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss the virus.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers plans to extend an order requiring masks be worn in indoor public places amid a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases that is straining the state's hospitals.

Evers said Wednesday that he will extend into January his mask mandate and reissue an order that will extend the state's public health emergency before the end of this week.

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He called on Republicans to support his efforts, saying the seven-day average of positive new cases is now more than 6,400, more than triple what it was two months ago.

It took Wisconsin seven months to log 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and it took only 36 more days to double that number. Last Friday - a mere 18 days later - the state blew past 300,000 cases, breaking a record daily high set just a day earlier.

Many of the state's overwhelmed hospitals reported that they were at or nearing capacity. The state's chief medical officer warned this week that Wisconsin soon might not be able to adequately treat patients.

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Dr. Robert Citronberg offers perspective from the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.

WLS-TV contributed to this report
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