By Shereen Siewert

Positive COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin rose Sunday to 2,267 with 68 deaths now blamed on the outbreak, but some health officials are offering a glimmer of hope that the trajectory of cases could be slowing slightly.

The numbers in Wisconsin are up from 2,112 cases and 56 deaths on Saturday. While the numbers are increasing, the rate of increase for both figures is slower than the day before. State health officials are reporting 624 hospitalizations, or about 28 percent of cases.

In Marathon County, the number of cases remains at 12, with 289 negative tests reported to date. One person in Marathon County has recovered, though statewide data is not available on the number of recoveries.

Statewide, the number of negative tests sits at 25,169.

While the spread continues, today’s report, along with projections being used by state and federal authorities, suggest that social distancing measures are slowing the spread as intended.

The latest projections from the University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation show Wisconsin can expect the number of COVID-19 infections to peak on around May 2. But the overall number of deaths projected for Wisconsin, based on current data, looks grim: More than 950 people are likely to succumb to the virus by June 1, when deaths are expected to drop off, the report states. See the full model for each state here.

While Wisconsin’s peak is later than the April 20 peak for the U.S. in general, the state — unlike many others — isn’t expected to run out of hospital beds for patients during the crisis. Intensive Care Unit beds, however, are in short supply, with a shortage of 204 beds predicted at the peak of the outbreak.

Other developments:

  • The government in Italy on Sunday announced 525 new deaths from the coronavirus, a figure that suggests the pace of fatalities there could be slowing. The figure is the lowest new death count since March 19.
  • The number of new coronavirus-related deaths in New York has dipped slightly over the past several days, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday. But he added that it’s still too soon to know whether the small decline is a “blip” or a sign that the state is nearing the apex of the outbreak and hitting a slight plateau.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said Sunday that the coming week is going to be a difficult one for Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, although the rate of infections will probably go down as the month goes on.
  • Wisconsin Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday to block extended absentee voting in Tuesday’s primary, despite public health fears about in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans are asking the high court to undo a federal judge’s ruling this week that declined to postpone the election but added six days, to April 13, for people to submit absentee ballots.

Find all our COVID-19 coverage here.