Racine County surpassed 100 deaths due to COVID-19 this week, with 66 of those deaths attributed to residents in communities located in central and western Racine County.

County surpasses 100 COVID-19 deaths as officials sound alarm

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Racine County’s surge in COVID-19 cases hasn’t stopped as Wisconsin continued to set all-time records in hospitalizations and new confirmed coronavirus cases during a recent seven-day period.

County health officials, who reported more than 300 new cases for two consecutive weeks, added another 361 from Oct. 6-12 bringing the total number of residents who have contracted COVID-19 to 5,551 as of Monday.

Additionally, since last week, Racine County officials passed a grim benchmark of 100 fatalities after two residents died.

“Racine County has reached the tragic milestone of 100 COVID-19 deaths,” county officials said on Oct. 12. “Our deepest sympathies are with all those who are grieving the loss of loved one and battling this virus.”

The Central Racine County Health Department jurisdiction – which includes all of Western Racine County – accounts for 2,747 of the confirmed cases as well as 66 deaths and has nearly matched the total cases in the City of Racine.

Health officials in the City of Racine on Oct. 12 confirmed 2,804 total residents have tested positive, including 34 fatalities, almost half as many in the CRCHD service area.

The positive test percentage in the last seven days is 7.2%.

“It’s clear that COVID-19 is still a major threat to public health,” Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said in an Oct. 8 news release. “It’s imperative that residents continue to do all they can to protect themselves and others.”

A total of 71,443 residents have tested negative with 40,198 coming from the CRCHD jurisdiction.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 479 Racine County residents have an active infection as of Tuesday.

Health officials have previously said residents who have tested positive must stay home and isolate for a minimum of 10 days after symptom onset or date of diagnosis.

Additionally, people in close contact with the 479 active cases should quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact, according to Centers for Disease Control guidance.

 

An urgent call

Health Officer Margaret Gesner, of CRCHD, reported an exponential increase in new confirmed cases within her department and has concerns about community transmission as well as safety of health care workers and first responders.

Between the first and last week of September, the CRCHD jurisdiction saw a 275% increase in the number of reported cases, Gesner wrote in an Oct. 8 press release.

The exponential increase, she said, is the most her department has seen at any time during the pandemic and has negatively affected all areas of Racine County.

Additionally, since last month, Racine County’s risk category grew from ‘high risk’ to ‘very high risk’ based on current case rates.

“The sharp rise in COVID-19 cases is deeply, deeply concerning. It’s crucial that residents maintain social distance, avoid large gatherings, wear a face covering in public, stay home when sick or quarantined, and practice good hygiene. By doing so, residents protect not only themselves, but their fellow community members – particularly our most vulnerable populations,” Gesner said.

Gesner, meanwhile, reiterated every resident is responsible for stemming the spread because of concerns related to exposure on public safety personnel.

“We all are responsible for ensuring that our hospitals are not overwhelmed, protecting the safety of our health care workers, first responders and other frontline workers, and safeguarding our children, family members and community.”

To read the full version of this story see the Oct. 15 edition of the Burlington Standard Press or the Oct. 16 editions of the Waterford Post and Westine Report.