White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator addresses COVID spread in Wisconsin to News 8 Now

Dr. Deborah Birx says "It shouldn't take our hospitals having this number of really seriously ill individuals to wake us up"

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – COVID cases in Wisconsin aren’t showing signs of slowing down.

The huge spike in cases has caught the attention from one federal health expert.

“We have to double down and be much more vigilant right now,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said.

Dr. Birx says COVID cases in Wisconsin are increasing faster than ever before.

“The rate of rise of cases is much greater than the rate of rise in the spring and the summer,” Birx said.

Our hospitals are nearing capacity. As of Thursday, Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse has 30 COVID patients hospitalized. Gundersen Health System has 50.

“It shouldn’t take our hospitals having this number of really seriously ill individuals to wake us up,” Birx said.

She says masks are not effective when they’re not being worn.

“Masks work when you have them on,” Birx said. “But if you are being with people, even your own family members who may have come from outside of your household, you’re creating a spreading event, the same way you would be creating a spreading event if you were in a bar.”

Dr. Birx says any indoor gatherings for Thanksgiving is a risk to catching the coronavirus.

“They just have to be conscious of the fact that not everyone may be there at the next holiday,” Birx said.

More than 250,000 people are dead, young and old.

Right now, Birx says everyone needs to follow guidelines and take this very seriously.

“There should be no one exempt in this moment,” Birx said. “It’s really our time as Americans to step up.”

Just this past Wednesday, Wisconsin recorded a record-high number of cases in a day with 7,989.

On Tuesday, 92 Wisconsin residents died, the most in a single day.