'Nightmare scenario:' Wisconsin sets COVID-19 case, death records

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) on Tuesday, Oct. 27 confirmed a record 5,262 additional COVID-19 cases -- the most reported in a single day. The rise is a more than 14% increase from the state's previous single-day high of nearly 4,600.

Tuesday also saw a record increase in the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Wisconsin. Sixty-four additional deaths were reported Tuesday, and more than 1,300 Wisconsinites are in the hospital.

The troubling milestones came with a new warning from Gov. Tony Evers, who along with DHS officials held a virtual news conference.

Thus far in the pandemic, Gov. Evers has urged all to stay home except for work and essential errands. On Tuesday, he urged residents to limit their social interactions to five people -- not five at one time, but five total -- and self-impose a stay-at-home order.

"We're not giving up here," said Gov. Evers. "If people stay home, we can call it whatever. I call it saving lives."

On Monday, the state his 200,000 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began; 100,000 of those cases were recorded within just the past 36 days.

"It's a nightmare scenario that this could get worse before it gets better, and that the majority of people haven't been exposed yet," said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer for the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases. 

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Westergaard also said that self-quarantining will help ward off influenza cases this winter, which could further impact hospitals, schools and businesses.

In addition to preaching personal responsibility, the state has ramped up testing capacity across 70 different sites -- now able to test up to 42,000 people per day.

Milwaukee may add testing, restrictions as virus cases climb

Milwaukee County officials on Tuesday discussed COVID-19 testing and safe voting in the area, among other topics, as the pandemic continues.