RACINE COUNTY — Two more Racine County residents have died from complications due to COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths here to 20.
Statewide, COVID-19 deaths were reported at 459 as of Monday afternoon by the Wisconsin Department of Human Services.
According to updated numbers released Monday by Racine County, 704 cases have been confirmed within the Racine Health Department’s jurisdiction, which includes Racine, Elmwood Park and Wind Point, with another 88 probable cases and eight deaths.
The Central Racine County Health Department, which covers the county’s other 14 municipalities, reported 355 confirmed cases with 102 probable cases and 12 deaths.
The percentage of tests coming back positive in Racine County is still double the percentage of positive tests statewide.
According to numbers reported Monday by DHS, Racine County had 1,034 tests come back positive over the weekend and 5,179 negative for COVID-19, meaning 16.6% of those tested have tested positive.
Statewide, that percentage is much lower; as of Monday, 12,687 tests have come back positive while 144,502 tests have come back negative, a positivity rate of about 8%.
County officials did not immediately provide the updated number of negative tests, but said the percentage of positive tests remained at about 16% to 17%.
Racine County has the third-highest number of positive tests statewide, after Milwaukee County (5,005) and Brown County (2,102). Among other southeastern Wisconsin counties, Kenosha County has 848 confirmed cases, Waukesha County 482 and Walworth County 284.
As of Monday, Milwaukee County had recorded 256 COVID-19 deaths, Waukesha County 23, Kenosha County 18 and Walworth County 12.
About 16%, or 2,068, cases statewide have required hospitalization.
County open, city closed
As Racine County continues to reopen, the City of Racine Public Health Department is reminding residents within the City of Racine and Villages of Wind Point and Elmwood Park that the local Safer at Home-Racine order issued on May 13 remains in effect until 8 a.m. on May 26.
CRCHD reiterated its reopening guidance and recommendations in light of the recent state Supreme Court decision, stating that “although the (state) Safer at Home order was overturned, the pandemic has not gone away.”
The department asked that everyone thoroughly review its Recommendations for Reopening Our Community During the Covid-19 Pandemic document and the WEDC guidance documents, both available at the Health Department website: www.crchd.com/covid-19.
Child care aid
The state Department of Children and Families on Monday announced the rollout of a federally funded program to provide some $51 million in assistance to a child care industry deemed essential during the coronavirus pandemic but struggling with additional costs, low pay for front-line workers and declining enrollment.
The program comes nearly two months after the first statewide “safer at home” order went into effect and five days after it was repealed by the conservative-leaning state Supreme Court. It will provide funding to pay for care for the children of essential workers, incentive pay for early-education teachers and money to help child care programs that were forced to close because of the pandemic.
Until the spending was OK’d Friday by the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee, Wisconsin had been among only a handful of states to fail to provide financial assistance to the industry, according to a listing of state actions kept by The Hunt Institute, a think tank affiliated with Duke University.
And the $51 million is still less than half of the $125 million Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration proposed spending at the end of March to support the industry. That measure, part of a $700 million coronavirus relief package never taken up by the Republican-controlled legislature, would have provided substantially the same kinds of benefits as in the package approved Friday, according to DCF spokesman Tom McCarthy.
Chris Rickert of the Wisconsin State Journal contributed to this report.
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