Jefferson County suffered its 20th death as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise.
Wisconsin health officials reported a record 5,771 of new coronavirus cases and 52 more deaths on Tuesday, along with a testing positivity rate tracking ever higher.
In Jefferson County, 11 of the 20 deaths from COVID-19 have occurred since the second week of October.
Hospitalizations rose by 247 in the state, which for weeks has ranked one of the nation’s worst hot spots for the virus. The state’s daily average of new cases has risen by 44 percent over the past two weeks, making it fourth-worst in the country for new cases per capita, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Wisconsin has risen over the past two weeks to 14.72% as of Monday.
With that average continuing upward, the School District of Fort Atkinson has extended virtual learning through the end of the month.
In a letter to district parents Monday, the district noted that Jefferson County’s seven-day rolling average of daily case incidence per 100,000 residents was 68, far above the 25 and above figure that indicates “very high risk.”
By Tuesday, the seven-day rolling average through Nov. 2 was 69 new cases daily per 100,000, and it rose to 73 on Wednsday.
Currently, the county has had 3,246 positive and 135 probable cases of COVID-19. Negative tests have totaled 25,450.
Fort Atkinson has had 740 cases of the coronavirus; Jefferson, 464; Waterloo, 233; Lake Mills, 211; Johnson Creek, 168; Sullivan, 110; and Palmyra, 113.
Due to the high seven-day rolling average and other factors, the School District of Fort Atkinson said, it is continuing the full virtual-instruction model until at least Monday, Nov. 30.
“With the county numbers being so high, we have extended our virtual-only learning to the end of the month to provide families the ability to do more long-term planning,” the letter stated. “If there is a dramatic shift toward data declining during this time, the board will respond accordingly at that time.”
It continued: “As numbers across Jefferson County continue to climb, the school district is feeling the direct effects of this through the number of staff and students who are reporting positive cases or being required to quarantine due to close contact with a positive case. Given the Jefferson County Health Department guidance, if we were currently in a face-to-face instructional model, three of our six buildings would be closed due to the number of positive cases and high number of staff absences due to required isolation and quarantine.”
The letter, sent as the second semester got under way, said the district looks forward “to working with your children, and keeping their health and safety as well as our staff’s health and safety, of utmost priority. We are very thankful for the continued partnership and support as we continue to navigate this challenging time together. Screen to screen, face to face, heart to heart.”
For further information and updates, visit www.fortschools.org/fall2020.