By Shereen Siewert

Wisconsin health officials confirmed about 750 more cases of COVID-19 in the state Thursday includi

The state has now seen 33,908 confirmed cases since the pandemic began in March. That’s an increase of 754 cases from Wednesday. Health officials recorded two more COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, bringing the overall death toll to 809.

In Marathon County, cases rose Thursday to 240, up seven from the day before. There are 7,976 confirmed negative tests reported in Marathon County, up 195 from Wednesday’s tally.

Of the 12,404 test results reported Thursday, 5.7% were positive. That’s up from 5.6% of 10,138 tests reported Wednesday but continues a downward trend from 10.8% on July 4.

The state had 6,302 active cases as of Thursday, up from 6,037 on Wednesday. Wisconsin’s population is about 5.8 million people.

Health officials in Marathon County also responded Thursday to rumors that circled social media claiming that the DHS results reflected the overall number of positive tests, not unique individuals.

But health officials say follow-up tests on patients are not reflected in the daily total.

“DHS reported cases (positive and negative) are unique individuals – you cannot be a confirmed positive case twice if you’re already a case,” the Marathon County Health Department posted on Facebook.

In other coronavirus news:

Face masks will be mandatory inside all University of Wisconsin campus buildings statewide under a policy adopted unanimously Thursday by the Board of Regents after interim President Tommy Thompson said there was no way to open safely amid the coronavirus pandemic without the mandate.

Thompson, the former Republican governor and U.S. Department of Health Services secretary, strongly advocated for the mandatory mask policy at his first regents meeting since taking the job last week. The policy also encourages the wearing of masks outside while on campus when physical distancing is not possible.

“I don’t think you can (open) safely without this mandatory policy,” Thompson said. Thompson said that while some people argue that mandating the wearing of masks presents a constitutional infringement on their freedoms, the health and safety of faculty, staff, students and their families must take precedent.

Wisconsin National Guard officials announced Thursday that people waiting to be tested at sites staffed by Guard troops can now fill out their information through a new state website dubbed Covid Connect while they wait in line.

Maj. Gen. Paul Knapp, the Guard’s top commanders, told reporters during a teleconference that the website will spare soldiers from having to interview each person and enter their information by hand, speeding up testing.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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