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COVID-19 death rate edges up again as Wisconsin nears 500,000 vaccine shots – WBAY

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) — The latest figures from the Department of Health Services finds the state is nearing half a million “shots in the arm” of COVID-19 vaccines.

Friday’s report shows in the past six weeks, 476,855 total vaccine doses were administered — a record increase of 44,753 over the last report. More than 90,000 people have now completed their vaccination series in Wisconsin’s fight against the COVID-19 virus. A total 90,668 people received their second, final shot, which is 7,613 more people than reported Thursday. That’s about 1.5% of the state’s population. (These numbers are preliminary as vaccinators’ reports come in, so they can represent shots given over the last few days.)

Unfortunately, Wisconsin’s death rate from COVID-19 is also up. The state added 49 deaths, well above the 7-day average which is now 31 deaths per day. A total 5,860 people in the state have died from COVID-19. That’s 1.09% of all known cases, the highest death rate since September 30. As we’ve said, when the state has fewer people being tested for coronavirus for the first time, or testing positive for the first time, each death carries more weight. We also want to point out the state reported fewer than 50 deaths on 24 out of the 29 days so far this month.

There were deaths in Brown (2), Chippewa (2), Columbia (4), Dane, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac (2), Green, Jackson, Jefferson, Kenosha (2), Marinette, Milwaukee (8), Oconto, Outagamie (2), Racine, Rock (2), Rusk, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, Trempealeau, Washburn, Waukesha (7), Waupaca (2) and Winnebago counties.

The number of new cases remained below 2,000 for 7 days in a row: The state reported 1,567 tests were positive for the coronavirus out of 6,940 results Friday. That’s 22.58% of the tests, nearly identical to Thursday’s positivity rate, and the 7-day average fell to 21.72%, the lowest average in 3 1/2 months.

The remaining 5,373 tests were negative. To date, almost 2 1/2 million people (2,498,517) tested in Wisconsin tested negative for the COVID-19 virus.

New coronavirus cases were identified in 66 of the 72 counties. In a sad twist, three counties that didn’t have new cases are among those with a new COVID-19 death. Case and death numbers by county are listed later in this article.

The state also tracks results for people we’ve been tested more than once. By that measure, the DHS says the positivity rate’s 7-day average was 5.4% on Thursday. (This calculation is at least a day behind because it’s based on preliminary numbers, including negative tests undergoing further review.)

Next Friday marks one year since the first coronavirus case was diagnosed in Wisconsin. Since then, 2,498,517 people have tested negative. 539,915 people have tested positive: 5,860 of them (1.09%) have died; 513,809 are considered recovered (95.2%); and 20,057 are currently active cases (3.7%).

Hospitalizations

For a third day in a row the state reported fewer than 100 new hospitalizations for COVID-19. The DHS says 91 people were hospitalized in the past 24-hour period. The 7-day average is 88 admissions per day, same as Thursday. Wisconsin had fewer than 100 hospitalizations on 18 days so far this month. Currently, 24,154 people have been hospitalized at some point for COVID-19 treatment, more than 24,000 people (24,154) have been hospitalized for COVID-19, or 4.47% of all known cases.

There are currently 678 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) on Friday. That’s 40 fewer than Thursday. However, 185 of these patients are in intensive care, which is an increase of 19. Daily changes in hospitalizations take deaths, discharges and new admissions into account.

Fox Valley hospitals region are caring for 49 COVID-19 patients (down 3 from Thursday), with 5 in ICU (same as Thursday).

Northeast region hospitals are treating 73 COVID-19 patients (down 9 from Thursday), including 19 in ICU (1 less than Thursday).

There were no hospital overflow patients at the alternative care facility at State Fair Park on Friday. Two patients were there for outpatient Bamlanivimab infusion therapy.

Hospital Readiness

In terms of hospital readiness, The WHA reported 278 ICU beds (19.0%) and 2,170 (19.4%) of all medical beds (ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation) are open in the state’s 134 hospitals.

The Fox Valley’s 13 hospitals have 12 ICU beds (11.5%) among them and 105 medical beds total (12.3%) open for the eight counties they serve.

The Northeast region’s 10 hospitals had 44 ICU beds (21.2%) and 260 of all medical beds (27.3%) for patients in seven counties.

These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19. We use the term “open” instead of “available” because whether a bed can be filled depends on whether the hospital has enough staffing for a patient in that bed, including doctors, nurses and food services.

Vaccinations

Action 2 News has put together a guide of vaccination clinics and health agencies distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to people age 65 and older. CLICK HERE for locations and phone numbers and websites to register.

By March 1, about one-third of the state’s population could be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The DHS largely accepted a committee’s recommendations for phase 1b of COVID-19 vaccinations and prioritized them in the following order (click here for a complete report):

  • Education, child care
  • Medicaid Long-term Care programs
  • Public-facing essential workers
  • Non-front line health care personnel
  • Congregate living

If there’s a shortage of vaccine supply, those groups will be further prioritized by risk factors including medical conditions, race and socioeconomic vulnerability (see the list of possible sub-priorities here).

FRIDAY’S COUNTY CASE NUMBERS (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold) *

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 1,495 cases (+4) (11 deaths)
  • Ashland – 1,135 cases (+3) (16 deaths)
  • Barron – 5,108 cases (+21) (69 deaths)
  • Bayfield – 1,032 cases (18 deaths)
  • Brown – 29,191 cases (+84) (195 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo – 1,259 cases (+8) (7 deaths)
  • Burnett – 1,094 cases (+3) (23 deaths)
  • Calumet – 5,212 cases (+24) (39 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 6,787 cases (+18) (77 deaths)
  • Clark – 3,087 cases (+4) (56 deaths)
  • Columbia – 4,822 cases (+9) (43 deaths) (+4)
  • Crawford – 1,635 cases (cases revised -1) (16 deaths) (+1)
  • Dane – 37,707 cases (+107) (245 deaths) (+1)
  • Dodge – 11,141 cases (+20) (144 deaths) (+1)
  • Door – 2,344 cases (+4) (18 deaths)
  • Douglas – 3,522 cases (+4) (18 deaths)
  • Dunn – 4,022 cases (+15) (26 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 10,498 cases (+23) (97 deaths)
  • Florence – 424 cases (+2) (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 11,521 cases (+35) (84 deaths) (+2)
  • Forest – 906 cases (+3) (22 deaths)
  • Grant – 4,478 cases (+17) (79 deaths)
  • Green – 2,706 cases (+29) (12 deaths)
  • Green Lake – 1,490 cases (+1) (15 deaths)
  • Iowa – 1,786 cases (9 deaths)
  • Iron – 472 cases (+2) (19 deaths)
  • Jackson – 2,543 cases (cases revised -1 by state) (22 deaths) (+1)
  • Jefferson – 7,519 cases (+19) (71 deaths) (+1)
  • Juneau – 2,863 cases (+2) (17 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 14,165 cases (+26) (270 deaths) (+2)
  • Kewaunee – 2,341 cases (+12) (26 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 11,647 cases (+144) (71 deaths)
  • Lafayette – 1,372 cases (+6) (7 deaths)
  • Langlade – 1,885 cases (+1) (31 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,788 cases (+7) (55 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 6,902 cases (+24) (60 deaths)
  • Marathon – 13,268 cases (+34) (169 deaths)
  • Marinette – 3,896 cases (+10) (59 deaths) (+1)
  • Marquette – 1,265 cases (+4) (21 deaths)
  • Menominee – 783 cases (+1) (11 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 94,496 (+255) (1,135 deaths) (+8)
  • Monroe – 4,062 cases (+12) (30 deaths)
  • Oconto – 4,139 cases (+7) (46 deaths) (+1)
  • Oneida – 3,158 cases (+13) (57 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 18,309 cases (+74) (179 deaths) (+2)
  • Ozaukee – 7,310 cases (+13) (72 deaths)
  • Pepin – 775 cases (7 deaths)
  • Pierce – 3,308 cases (+20) (33 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,549 cases (+12) (42 deaths)
  • Portage – 6,122 cases (+34) (59 deaths)
  • Price – 1,100 cases (+8) (7 deaths)
  • Racine – 19,744 cases (+27) (297 deaths) (+1)
  • Richland – 1,220 cases (+8) (13 deaths)
  • Rock – 13,705 cases (+36) (140 deaths) (+2)
  • Rusk – 1,226 cases (cases revised -1 by state) (15 deaths) (+1)
  • Sauk – 5,057 cases (+16) (36 deaths) (+1)
  • Sawyer – 1,406 cases (+3) (17 deaths)
  • Shawano – 4,498 cases (+10) (69 deaths) (+1)
  • Sheboygan – 12,424 cases (+15) (114 deaths) (+1)
  • St. Croix – 6,092 cases (+12) (40 deaths)
  • Taylor – 1,751 cases (+5) (20 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,271 cases (+5) (35 deaths) (+1)
  • Vernon – 1,730 cases (+5) (34 deaths)
  • Vilas – 1,928 cases (+13) (32 deaths)
  • Walworth – 8,568 cases (+30) (118 deaths)
  • Washburn – 1,225 cases (+6) (18 deaths) (+1)
  • Washington – 13,231 cases (+25) (121 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 38,897 cases (+103) (445 deaths) (+7)
  • Waupaca – 4,602 cases (+11) (107 deaths) (+2)
  • Waushara – 2,038 cases (+3) (25 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 16,493 cases (+34) (168 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood – 6,370 cases (+25) (66 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger – 272 cases (1 death)
  • Baraga – 486 cases (30 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 691 cases (+3) (20 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,614 cases (+1) (62 deaths)
  • Dickinson – 2,096 cases (+3) (55 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Gogebic – 845 cases (+6) (17 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,986 cases (+3) (31 deaths)
  • Iron – 850 cases (+1) (37 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 105 cases (1 death)
  • Luce – 130 cases
  • Mackinac – 277 cases (3 deaths)
  • Marquette – 3,399 cases (+5) (53 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,591 cases (+3) (33 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 326 cases (+6) (17 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft – 226 cases (4 deaths)

* Cases and deaths are from the daily DHS COVID-19 reports, which may differ from local health department numbers. The DHS reports cases from all health departments within a county’s boundaries, including tribal, municipal and county health departments; county websites may not. Also, public health departments update their data at various times, whereas the DHS freezes the numbers it receives by the same time every day to compile the afternoon report.

The DHS reports deaths attributed to COVID-19 or in which COVID-19 contributed to their death. Most of the people severely affected by the coronavirus have underlying illnesses or conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity, which raises a person’s risk of dying from COVID-19. They would’ve lived longer if not for their infection. The state may revise case and death numbers after further review, such as the victim’s residence, duplicated records, or a correction in lab results. Details can be found on the DHS website and Frequently Asked Questions.

**The state of Michigan does not update numbers on Sundays. Monday’s numbers include updates since Saturday’s reporting deadline.

COVID-19 Tracing App

Wisconsin’s COVID-19 tracing app, “Wisconsin Exposure Notification,” is available for iOS and Android smartphones. No download is required for iPhones. The Android app is available on Google Play. When two phones with the app (and presumably their owners) are close enough, for long enough, they’ll anonymously share a random string of numbers via Bluetooth. If someone tests positive for the coronavirus, they’ll receive a code to type into the app. If your phones “pinged” each other in the last 14 days, you’ll receive a push notification that you are at risk of exposure. The app doesn’t collect personal information or location information, so you won’t know from whom or where, but you will be told what day the exposure might have occurred so that you can quarantine for the appropriate amount of time.

Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these as possible symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Prevention

  • The coronavirus is a new, or “novel,” virus. Nobody has a natural immunity to it.
  • Children and teens seem to recover best from the virus. Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the CDC. Precautions are also needed around people with developing or weakened immune systems.
  • To help prevent the spread of the virus:
  • Stay at least six feet away from other people
  • Avoid close contact with people who are or appear sick
  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates and nonessential appointments

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