State public health officials are investigating 187 facility-based outbreaks of COVID-19, including 48 in workplaces. Wisconsin Department of Health Services secretary-designee Andrea Palm announced Wednesday the state will begin publicly reporting the number of outbreaks and public health investigations underway in facility-based settings. In long-term care facilities, a single case will initiate a public health investigation. Two or more cases prompt an investigation in workplaces, health care facilities, group housing facilities, restaurants, event spaces and day care centers. As of Wednesday, the state is tracking outbreaks tied to 93 long-term care facilities, 48 workplaces, 25 group housing facilities, 11 health care facilities, and 10 other facility settings. In southeastern Wisconsin, the state reported outbreak investigations at 32 workplaces, 59 long-term care facilities, 11 group housing facilities, six health care facilities, and five other settings, according to DHS. Among the long-term care facilities under investigation statewide, 20 facilities have single confirmed cases and 25 have fewer than five confirmed cases. The number of confirmed cases at the facilities ranges from one to 54, DHS said.DHS will update data regarding outbreaks every Wednesday moving forward. “We want to share it so that you can see the challenges facing our communities and state as a whole and understand how that is informing our policy decisions,” Palm said.
Palm said officials are not disclosing individual outbreak locations to protect the privacy of the people involved.
"We want to be as transparent as we can without exposing individuals and their privacy in a way that does not advance public health," she said.
Bolstering the state's contact tracing – which includes identifying and interviewing every confirmed COVID-19 patient and the people they have come into contact with – is a key component of reopening the economy.
Gov. Tony Evers' Badger Bounce Back plan sets a goal of having every Wisconsinite who tests positive being interviewed within 24 hours of receiving their test results and their contacts being interviewed within 48 hours of test results. The state plans to add 1,000 contact tracers to accomplish that goal.
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