MARINETTE — The number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Marinette County.

Public Health Officer Molly Bonjean provided an update on the situation Wednesday to the Health and Human Services Board.

“Right now we have about 75% of our hospital beds in use, 64% of ICU beds and 17% of our ventilators are in use,” she said. “This is one of the most common questions we get here at Public Health, but this is the best data that we can get.”

As for the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, Bonjean said the total is at 1,146 as of Monday.

“You can see a trend,” she said. “If you look back at Sept. 5, we were at 664 cases. So we’ve almost doubled our number of cases once again. The number of cases that we are seeing is around 35 cases per day. We’ve had quite a large spike in cases in the past month.”

Bonjean said the county’s rate of infection and COVID-19 activity is very high and that several links have been added to the Marinette County Public Health website so the public can view the infection rate data for themselves.

“Just prior to our meeting it was just announced that the state is activating a field hospital at the State Fairgrounds in Milwaukee,” she said. “This is because so many hospitals in northeast Wisconsin are having big surge issues. Right now they aren’t taking any transfers from up here, which is very concerning. Given the need, I’m very glad to see that they opened this hospital up, and I think we’ll need to open more before all is said and done, because we know that we are not at the peak of this by any stretch.”

Bonjean also announced that the Public Health Department is changing its policy on notifying contact trace cases

She explained, “In the past our department would notify all the people an infected person came in prolonged contact with, and this would lead to dozens of phone calls for each positive case. With the widespread increase in cases it is no longer feasible for our department to carry out this duty. This responsibility will be transferred to the infected person to notify any people that they have possibly infected.”

As of today, nine deaths have been linked to COVID-19 in Marinette County since the beginning of the pandemic.

Finally, Bonjean informed the Board of Emergency Order 3, issued by Gov. Tony Evers earlier this week. The order, which took effect at 8 a.m. on Thursday, will limit any indoor gathering to 25% of its usual occupancy. Several exemptions to the order have been made for schools, universities, outdoor gatherings and grocery stores. The order will expire on Nov. 6.