By Maddie Burakoff
Spectrum News 1
July 21, 2020
MILWAUKEE (SPECTRUM NEWS) — On Tuesday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced 1,117 new cases of COVID-19 in the state, setting a new record for the number of cases added on a single day and marking the first time the daily total passed 1,000 cases.
“This is the largest single-day increase in new cases Wisconsin has ever seen, and it’s a good reminder that each of us needs to do all we can to stop the spread,” interim state health officer Stephanie Smiley said at a Tuesday media briefing.
So far this month, the state has already shattered its own single-day case record seven times, according to DHS data. That makes July the most record-setting month for coronavirus cases since March, when the pandemic was first ramping up — with a week and a half still to go.
March included the highest number of record-setting days as the coronavirus began its spread in the state, peaking with 147 cases announced on March 28. And April and May each had five new single-day records, finishing off with a high of 733 on May 30.
In June, though, Wisconsin’s cases dipped, and no single-day case records were set that month. This may be a result of a delay period between when the state began its reopening and when infections began to spread again, says Amanda Simanek, an associate professor of epidemiology at UW-Milwaukee’s Zilber School of Public Health.
“There’s probably a lag, and a sort of ramping up of those social interactions between the end of May and the end of June,” Simanek says. “Then, eventually, we start to see that uptick in cases.”
That has changed in recent weeks as case numbers have climbed again, reaching even higher than earlier peaks from the spring. While some areas, like Milwaukee and Dane County, have followed phased reopening procedures, Simanek says other parts of the state opened up rapidly, making it difficult to track exactly which measures are leading to these upticks.