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Wisconsin passes 800,000 vaccine doses given; coronavirus cases remain low – WBAY

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin reported 35 more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday even as new cases remain low and hospitalizations have dropped sharply.

According to the Department of Health Services, there were 821 positive results in the latest batch of 5,813 test results. That’s the most new cases in 4 days but it marked a 5th day in a row with fewer than 1,000 cases. The state is averaging 919 cases per day over the last 7 days, down from 970. Active cases — those showing symptoms or diagnosed in the past 30 days — are down to 2.3% of all diagnosed cases (12,790 people).

The state is averaging 25 deaths per day, up from Tuesday’s average of 22. Wisconsin added more than 30 people to COVID-19′s death toll four times in the last 7 days. Over the past year, 6,129 people have died. The death rate was 1.11% of all known cases for a second day.

Deaths were reported in 20 counties, including Brown, which reported its 200th COVID-19 death: Barron, Brown, Calumet, Chippewa, Door, Forest, Green Lake, Jackson, Kenosha (5), Milwaukee (4), Polk, Racine (4), Vernon, Walworth (2), Washington (2), Waukesha (4), Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood.

New cases were identified in 64 of the 72 counties. Sadly, Forest and Green Lake counties reported new deaths even though they didn’t report new cases. County-by-county case and death numbers appear later in this article.

The 5,813 tests were the most the state received in six days. Wisconsin hasn’t had a day with more than 10,000 results in over a month, but with 53.2% of the state’s population being tested at least once, there are fewer people being tested for the first time.

The state now says it’s using the 7-day percent positive by test for a more accurate picture of the COVID-19 positivity rate (CLICK HERE). These are based on preliminary results, but the 7-day positivity rate on Tuesday, the latest available, was down to 3.9% — the lowest since June 28. Health officials want to see the positivity rate below 3% to consider the spread of the virus is being managed. Even by the previous standard of looking at one test per person, which is how the CDC compiles its reports, the positivity rate was down to 14.12% on Wednesday, marking four days in a row with a positivity rate below 20%.

To date, 3,098,447 people have been tested for the coronavirus. 551,871 tested positive, and 532,793 (96.6%) of them are considered recovered.

VACCINATIONS

A weekly update from the Department of Health Services says the federal government has allocated 1,152,025 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Wisconsin since mid-December. Some of that went to the federal Pharmacy Partnership Program for nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. That state has ordered 901,500 doses.

According to Wednesday’s report, 822,910 doses of vaccine have been administered either as a first or second dose. That’s 29,436 more “shots in the arm” than the state reported Tuesday. These numbers may reflect shots given within the last 3 days as vaccinators’ reports continue coming in. The state says 183,758 people have completed their vaccinations, which is 9,543 more people getting that second shot since the last report.

The state now says 37% of Wisconsin residents 65 or older received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. More older adults have received at least one shot than all other age groups combined. Older adults have been the focus of vaccination efforts the last few weeks because they’re most at-risk of dying or needing hospitalization for a COVID-19 infection.

Age group Doses administered % of age group
with at least 1 dose
16-17 676 0.4%
18-24 24,231 4.3%
25-34 60,601 8.2%
35-44 68,594 9.7%
45-54 66,400 8.1%
55-64 74,808 9.6%
65+ 328,263 37.0%

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.

Tuesday, the state and its health partners identified a second person in Wisconsin with a U.K. variant of COVID-19 (see related story). That mutation of the coronavirus is believed to be more contagious and possibly more deadly than the original strain that emerged from China, but the CDC says the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are both effective at preventing infection.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

On Wednesday, the DHS reported 69 more hospitalizations for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period, putting that change in double digits for the 5th time in 7 days and the 11th time in two weeks. The state is averaging 77 hospitalizations per day over 7 days, down from 80 patients a day on Tuesday.

But taking discharges and deaths into account, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported fewer patients currently in hospitals than any time since Sept. 22. There are 489 hospitalized, 36 fewer than Tuesday, with 127 in intensive care, 6 fewer than Tuesday.

Fox Valley hospitals region were treating 28 patients (down 9), including 6 in ICU (down 1).

Northeast region hospitals were treating 48 COVID-19 patients (down 5), with 16 in ICU, which is two more than Tuesday.

HOSPITAL READINESS

In terms of hospital readiness, the WHA reported 278 ICU beds (19.0%) and 2,190 (19.6%) of all medical beds (ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation) were open in the state’s 134 hospitals.

The Fox Valley’s 13 hospitals reported 19 open ICU beds (18.3%) among them. The hospitals had a total 125 unoccupied medical beds (14.7%) for the eight counties they serve.

The Northeast region’s 10 hospitals had 18 ICU beds (8.7%) and 182 of all medical beds (19.0%) open for patients in seven counties.

These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19. We use the terms “open” or “unoccupied” instead of “available” because whether a bed can be filled depends on hospitals having the staff for a patient in that bed, including doctors, nurses and food services.

There were no hospital overflow patients again at the state’s alternate care facility near the State Fairgrounds on Wednesday. The field hospital’s Bamlanivimab infusion clinic closed on Friday. The clinic opened on December 22 to help southeast Wisconsin health systems. The state says those health care systems now have the capacity to care for the patients.

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

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 1,538 cases (+5) (11 deaths)
  • Ashland – 1,162 cases (16 deaths)
  • Barron – 5,205 cases (+10) (74 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield – 1,056 cases (+1) (18 deaths)
  • Brown – 29,736 cases (+26) (200 deaths) (+1)
  • Buffalo – 1,295 cases (+3) (7 deaths)
  • Burnett – 1,134 cases (+4) (23 deaths)
  • Calumet – 5,353 cases (+12) (40 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa – 6,932 cases (+10) (87 deaths) (+1)
  • Clark – 3,128 cases (56 deaths)
  • Columbia – 4,921 cases (+5) (46 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,648 cases (+2) (17 deaths)
  • Dane – 38,906 (+99) (264 deaths)
  • Dodge – 11,279 cases (+18) (154 deaths)
  • Door – 2,383 cases (+6) (19 deaths) (+1)
  • Douglas – 3,628 cases (23 deaths) (cases revised -1 by state)
  • Dunn – 4,152 cases (+15) (26 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 10,798 cases (+10) (104 deaths)
  • Florence – 430 cases (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 11,738 cases (+17) (88 deaths)
  • Forest – 914 cases (23 deaths) (+1)
  • Grant – 4,569 cases (+9) (79 deaths)
  • Green – 2,900 cases (+38) (15 deaths)
  • Green Lake – 1,511 cases (18 deaths) (+1)
  • Iowa – 1,825 cases (+4) (9 deaths)
  • Iron – 500 cases (+3) (19 deaths)
  • Jackson – 2,559 cases (+2) (23 deaths) (+1)
  • Jefferson – 7,713 cases (+12) (74 deaths)
  • Juneau – 2,933 cases (+4) (18 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 14,513 cases (+19) (287 deaths) (+5)
  • Kewaunee – 2,392 cases (+4) (27 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 11,979 cases (+34) (75 deaths)
  • Lafayette – 1,398 cases (+3) (7 deaths)
  • Langlade – 1,913 cases (+5) (31 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,850 cases (+3) (56 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 7,099 cases (+16) (61 deaths)
  • Marathon – 13,427 cases (+16) (170 deaths)
  • Marinette – 3,939 cases (+2) (61 deaths)
  • Marquette – 1,289 cases (21 deaths)
  • Menominee – 791 cases (11 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 96,484 (+135) (1,184 deaths) (+4)
  • Monroe – 4,183 cases (+14) (30 deaths)
  • Oconto – 4,198 cases (+1) (47 deaths)
  • Oneida – 3,274 cases (+6) (62 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 18,775 cases (+19) (186 deaths)
  • Ozaukee – 7,482 cases (+9) (72 deaths)
  • Pepin – 786 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Pierce – 3,394 cases (+7) (33 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,717 cases (+14) (43 deaths) (+1)
  • Portage – 6,309 cases (+12) (60 deaths)
  • Price – 1,124 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Racine – 20,051 cases (+19) (312 deaths) (+4)
  • Richland – 1,251 cases (+3) (13 deaths)
  • Rock – 14,034 cases (+27) (148 deaths)
  • Rusk – 1,240 cases (+2) (16 deaths)
  • Sauk – 5,153 cases (+1) (37 deaths)
  • Sawyer – 1,446 cases (+5) (19 deaths)
  • Shawano – 4,542 cases (+3) (69 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 12,580 cases (+6) (125 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 6,226 cases (+2) (42 deaths)
  • Taylor – 1,771 cases (+1) (20 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,334 cases (+5) (36 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,783 cases (+1) (36 deaths) (+1)
  • Vilas – 2,035 cases (+7) (35 deaths)
  • Walworth – 8,707 cases (+6) (124 deaths) (+2)
  • Washburn – 1,257 cases (+1) (18 deaths)
  • Washington – 13,507 cases (+30) (128 deaths) (+2)
  • Waukesha – 39,735 cases (+27) (464 deaths) (+4)
  • Waupaca – 4,699 cases (+19) (109 deaths) (+1)
  • Waushara – 2,074 cases (+1) (29 deaths) (+1)
  • Winnebago – 16,723 cases (+5) (176 deaths) (+1)
  • Wood – 6,561 cases (+13) (72 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger – 275 cases (1 death)
  • Baraga – 497 cases (+2) (31 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 707 cases (+1) (20 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,629 cases (+3) (65 deaths)
  • Dickinson – 2,116 cases (+2) (55 deaths)
  • Gogebic – 889 cases (+11) (18 deaths)
  • Houghton – 2,024 cases (+7) (32 deaths)
  • Iron – 861 cases (+1) (39 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 104 cases (1 death)
  • Luce – 132 cases
  • Mackinac – 278 cases (3 deaths)
  • Marquette – 3,425 cases (+3) (53 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,602 cases (+1) (34 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 351 cases (+2) (18 deaths)
  • Schoolcraft – 229 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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