Four U.S. states including Wisconsin report record one-day increases in COVID-19 cases

(Reuters) - Four U.S. states reported record one-day increases in new COVID-19 cases on Friday as the nation surpassed the grim milestone of over 7 million total infections, according to a Reuters tally.

FILE PHOTO: Protective masks at the Microbiology Research Facility at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Craig Lassig

Wisconsin, one of the states where cases are rising the fastest, reported 2,629 new infections, surpassing its previous record set last Friday, according to the tally.

Minnesota, Oregon and Utah also reported record increases in cases on Friday.

All Midwest states except Ohio reported more cases in the past four weeks as compared with the prior four weeks, according to a Reuters analysis. On Thursday, Montana and South Dakota reported record one-day increases in cases.

Earlier this week, Wisconsin’s governor declared a new public health emergency and extended a face mask mandate into November.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Wisconsin also set a new record for the sixth day in a row, rising to 543 on Friday from 342 a week ago.

Hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients also set records this week in Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

COVID-19 infections in the United States are trending upwards and the average number of cases in the last seven days is up 10% from the prior week, according to a Reuters analysis. On average, the nation is reporting 44,000 new cases a day and about 700 deaths.

Despite cases still rising in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis on Friday lifted all COVID-19 restrictions on businesses, including restaurants and bars, saying the threat of the coronavirus pandemic had eased sufficiently to allow the state to enter the final phase of its reopening.

The United States recently surpassed 200,000 lives lost from the coronavirus, the highest death toll in the world.

Reporting by Anurag Maan in Bengaluru and Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Alistair Bell, David Gregorio and Raju Gopalakrishnan