Another negative COVID-19 milestone for Wisconsin was reached on Wednesday, as officials with public health agencies and hospital groups warn the situation is approaching a critical stage.

The state Department of Health Services announced that the first COVID-19 related death in Pepin County means all 72 Wisconsin counties have now recorded at least one death due to the virus.

DHS also reported 7,048 confirmed positive cases and 62 deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 2,457 lives lost.

And, with the state’s chief medical officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard warning we’re near “a tipping point,” the Wisconsin Hospitals Association reported 2,102 COVID-19 patients and 441 in intensive care.

Dr. Mark Kaufman, chief medical officer for the Wisconsin Hospital Association, told a virtual meeting of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce on Wednesday that the state needs to “triple down,” individually and collectively, on public health measures.

“And that’s wear masks, and to physically distance and practice good personal hygiene.,” Kaufman said. “And I think the logical conclusion is we are not doing that as well in Wisconsin as they are in other states.”

Kaufman noted that Wisconsin’s five day rate of positive COVID-19 tests is still headed in the wrong direction, despite admonitions from public health agencies and hospital groups.

“We’re at 36 percent. As states have gone through COVID-19 waves, they often refer to five percent. That if they can keep the percent positive new tests below five percent that’s a good sign. If they get above five percent that’s a bad sign. So right now we are at 36 percent, which is a dismal performance.”

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