Surgeon general issues guidance amid Wisconsin's COVID-19 surge

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams offered a glimmer of hope for Wisconsinites on Friday, Oct. 23 after weeks of increasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

While several factors are at play, the surgeon general said one of Wisconsinites' best qualities -- valuing togetherness -- is also hurting residents when it comes to the coronavirus.

"We can turn this thing around in a matter of just weeks," Adams said. "We can do this, Wisconsin."

Adams said his travels show that more people are in fact masking up and avoiding public spaces. Simultaneously, asymptomatic individuals are expanding their social bubble and unknowingly spreading it to others.

"The safest thing for us to do is to assume we have it, assume that everyone else around us has it," said Adams.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams

The Badger State continues to rank third in the country for the most COVID-19 cases confirmed over the past week, according to the CDC. Gov. Tony Evers called the numbers an urgent crisis.
 
"Those who say the pandemic has been blown out of proportion, they're flat out wrong," Gov. Evers said.

A second COVID-19 patient was admitted to Wisconsin's alternate care facility at State Fair Park on Friday. The facility's CEO, Deb Standridge, said staff has now been given the green light to administer remdesivir -- one of the drugs given to President Donald Trump after his COVID-19 diagnosis.

"That was a game-changer for our health care facilities," Standridge said. "It's blocking the virus from getting into the system."

The FDA approved the antiviral on Thursday as the first treatment for COVID-19 patients as young as 12 years old.

Not only does remdesivir help people recover faster, it will provide some relief to Wisconsin's overwhelmed 134 hospitals. According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association, there were a record 1,243 people currently hospitalized as of Friday, surpassing another record that had been set Thursday.

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Still, the treatment is far from a cure. Adams reminds people ahead of the holiday season that prevention is the best medicine.

"The loving thing to do is to practice the three 'Ws' -- wear a mask, wash your hands and to watch your distance," said Adams.

Part of those preventative measures, Adams said, include getting a flu shot this year. Adams said a COVID-19 will likely be ready for distribution by early 2021.

Wisconsin DHS: 4,378 new COVID-19 cases, 42 deaths confirmed

More than 1.7 million people have tested negative. More than 1.9 million have been tested.