Brown county’s COVID-19 infection rate grew to the highest in Wisconsin.
As of today, the county’s infection rate reached 354.1 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
The spike in the infection rate comes as the JBS Food Processing Company temporarily shut down a meat production facility in Green Bay. According to NBC26, the Brown County Health department traced 189 COVID-19 cases to the plant.
The Green Bay plant was the fourth plant JBS has had to close, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Meatpacking plants are especially susceptible to COVID-19 outbreaks because their employees are forced to work in extremely close quarters, making social distancing difficult if not impossible, according to a StarTribune article.
As of April 28, the DHS website states Brown County has 920 positive cases of COVID-19. The website, which continuously updates COVID-19 data for every Wisconsin county, also lists Brown County as having 2,300 negative COVID-19 cases and 3 deaths.
According to its website, the DHS only uses data from patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases. The DHS said the state still faces a shortage of tests, meaning the reported cases of COVID-19 may be lower than the actual number of cases.
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According to the DHS, Wisconsin has just two laboratories that can process COVID-19 tests—the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene and the Milwaukee Health Department laboratory.
The DHS guidelines state health care providers are to prioritize testing for patients who have a high likelihood of contracting COVID-19, such as health care workers and first responders. The guidelines also recommend testing patients in need of medical procedures which increase the risk of spreading COVID-19, like dialysis.