By Shereen Siewert

While the number of coronavirus infections continues to rise in Wisconsin, state officials say social distancing measures are having a big impact on the overall spread of the virus.

According to the model created by the Department of Health Services, Wisconsin was projected to have 22,000 infections by April 8, which would have ultimately resulted in somewhere between 440 and 1,500 deaths. These numbers were based on projected significant exponential growth in positive cases.

But since the Safer at Home order was instituted, the state is seeing a decrease in the rate of the virus’ spread. Wisconsin’s rate of doubling of infections was 3.4 days in early March and, over the past two weeks, the rate of doubling is now approximately 12 days.

“Without effective treatments or a vaccine, the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 is through non-pharmaceutical interventions that help us maintain physical distancing,” said Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist Dr. Ryan Westergaard. “The Safer at Home order has been our main intervention in Wisconsin, and we are beginning to see the results.”

On Tuesday, the number of positive coronavirus cases in Wisconsin grew to 3,555 with 170 deaths reported. About 30 percent of patients require hospitalization, state officials say.

Marathon County reports 14 cases with one death to date, and 407 negative tests processed.

Hospitals in north central Wisconsin report two patients in ICU with COVID-19, according to DHS. Eight inpatients are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, and there are 24 ventilated patients as of April 14 in the region.