By Shereen Siewert

A fourth person has died of complications from COVID-19 and local cases spiked from 442 to 499, the Marathon County Health Department reported Monday.

As of July 27 309 patients in Marathon County have recovered, up 35 from Friday. Patients whose symptoms are resolved, have been released from isolation and have passed the 30-day mark since symptom onset or diagnoses are considered “recovered,” heath officials said.

The number of cases being reported represents unique individuals. If a single patient has multiple positive tests, only a single test is included in the daily tally.

The increase comes as more area businesses grapple with positive test results that impact their ability to remain open, and school districts are finalizing plans for the fall semester.

The numbers also show a marked contrast between COVID-19 and seasonal flu, which had been compared frequently in the early weeks of the pandemic. Health officials say that while there are fewer cases of COVID-19 compared to seasonal flu – 3.8 million vs. 39 million over a period of six months – the U.S. has seen many more deaths attributed to the coronavirus.

Between Oct. 1, 2019 and April 4, 2020, the traditional flu season, there were between 24,000 and 64,000 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the U.S. has already seen more than 140,000 fatalities connected to COVID-19 in the first six months of the pandemic.