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Wisconsin COVID-19 deaths surge to 10-day high

New cases rose to 1,301 on Tuesday, far below the 7-day average
Coronavirus
Coronavirus(CDC)
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 2:02 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2021 at 3:51 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) -- The death toll from COVID-19 in Wisconsin rose to 5,753 people on Tuesday when the state reported 54 more deaths. That’s the most deaths added by the state since the single-day record of 128 ten days ago, on January 16. The 7-day average to rise to 34 deaths per day, tempered by two days when death counts were in the single digits. The death rate held steady at 1.07% for a fourth day.

Dane County had the most deaths added on Tuesday with 11, followed by Milwaukee and Waukesha counties with 7 each. Other counties reporting deaths were: Dodge (4), Fond du Lac (4), Kenosha (3), Racine (3), Jefferson (2), Outagamie (2), Ozaukee (2), Polk (2), Barron, Chippewa, Jackson, Juneau, Rock, Washburn, Waushara and Wood. The count was revised in Clark County.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported 1,301 new coronavirus cases, which was about 24% (23.88%) of the 5,448 results the state received. These are results for people who were tested or tested positive for the first time. They identified new cases in 64 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. This comes after Wisconsin reported 946 cases Monday, only the second time since mid-September there were fewer than 1,000 new cases.

County case and death numbers appear later in this article.

More than half of the state’s population was tested for coronavirus in the past 12 months, so there are fewer people being tested for the first time. When you look at results for people tested multiple times, such as health care workers or patients being treated for COVID-19, the 7-day average for the positivity rate was 6.1% on Sunday based the latest data available. (The DHS calculation is at least a day behind because it’s based on preliminary numbers, including negative tests undergoing further review.) Reporting one test per person, no matter how many times they’re tested, is considered a better indicator of the virus’s spread in the community; it’s how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles its own reports.

To date, 535,218 people tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Almost 95% of them (94.9%) have recovered, which is 507,760 people, though the DHS acknowledges some may have lingering symptoms. There are 21,515 active cases, or 4.0% of all cases that were diagnosed in the last 30 days or haven’t been medically cleared.

VACCINATIONS

The state reports 362,505 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered -- 17,488 more since Monday’s report. There are 69,077 people who received their second and final dose, which is 4,713 more than Monday’s report. These numbers are preliminary for a few days as vaccinators’ reports continue coming in. Vaccination administration numbers are updated by the state health department during the afternoons Monday through Friday.

More people will be eligible for the vaccine starting “on or around” March 1. Tuesday, 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).

Why March -- more than a month away? Many health care agencies are already administering the vaccine to law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders who aren’t necessarily on the front lines of the pandemic, and to people 65 and older. There are about 700,000 people in that 65+ age group alone. The federal government has allocated 846,300 doses of vaccines for Wisconsin in the past six weeks -- and keep in mind that it takes two doses to complete a vaccination regimen -- so it will take time for a dose (or two) to be available to more people. By March 1, about one-third of the state’s population would be eligible for a jab.

Since the DHS stepped up the campaign to vaccinate older adults, who are at higher risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms, 6.9% of adults 65 and older in Wisconsin have received at least one shot in the arm. They still lag behind adults age 35-44 and 55-64, but one week ago only 3.2% of senior adults had received a dose and they were behind all age groups except children and young adults.

The DHS breaks down vaccination information by age and gender on its website (CLICK HERE). The vaccine data page also lets you narrow down daily vaccinations by county or region -- use the pulldown menu at the upper right corner of the graph at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm#day.

Hospitalizations

For the first time in six days, more than 100 people are reported to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period. The DHS says 135 were hospitalized since the last report on Monday. That brings the 7-day average up from 88 to 91 hospitalizations per day. The total number of people ever hospitalized for COVID-19 is 23,883, which is 4.46% of all known cases.

Despite the high number of new admissions, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) says there were 26 fewer COVID-19 patients hospitalized after taking deaths and discharges into account. There were 746 in hospitals on Tuesday, with 155 in intensive care units. We had to go back to October 4 to find fewer patients in the hospital at one time, and back to September 25 to find fewer COVID-19 patients in ICU.

These take us back to levels before the state opened an alternate care facility to handle overflow patients from hospitals. On Tuesday, there were no overflow patients and no one receiving outpatient Bamlanivimab infusion therapy at the field hospital at State Fair Park.

Hospitals in the Fox Valley region are caring for 56 COVID-19 patients, with 5 in ICU. That’s 4 fewer patients in ICU and 7 fewer patients overall than Monday.

The Northeast region hospitals are treating 88 COVID-19 patients, including 16 in ICU. That’s 4 more in ICU and 6 more overall than the day before.

Hospital Readiness

In terms of hospital readiness, The WHA further reported the state’s 134 hospitals have 263 ICU beds (17.9%) and 2,125 of all types of medical beds (19.0%) open -- that’s ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation.

The Fox Valley’s 13 hospitals only have 10 ICU beds (9.6%) among them and 140 medical beds total (16.4%) open for the eight counties they serve.

The Northeast region’s 10 hospitals had 40 ICU beds (19.3%) and 217 of all medical beds (22.7%) 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.

TUESDAY’S COUNTY CASES AND DEATHS (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold) *

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 1,473 cases (+1) (11 deaths)
  • Ashland – 1,125 cases (+1) (16 deaths)
  • Barron – 5,043 cases (+7) (69 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield - 1,028 cases (18 deaths)
  • Brown – 28,956 cases (+120) (190 deaths)
  • Buffalo – 1,239 cases (+4) (7 deaths)
  • Burnett – 1,086 cases (+5) (23 deaths)
  • Calumet – 5,158 cases (+19) (39 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 6,710 cases (+17) (77 deaths) (+1)
  • Clark – 3,068 cases (+10) (56 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Columbia – 4,757 cases (+6) (39 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,629 cases (15 deaths)
  • Dane – 37,352 cases (+67) (240 deaths) (+11)
  • Dodge – 11,071 cases (+19) (142 deaths) (+4)
  • Door – 2,328 cases (+3) (18 deaths)
  • Douglas – 3,495 cases (+9) (18 deaths)
  • Dunn – 3,972 cases (26 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 10,389 cases (+19) (97 deaths)
  • Florence - 417 cases (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 11,439 cases (+20) (80 deaths) (+4)
  • Forest - 901 cases (+2) (22 deaths)
  • Grant – 4,425 cases (+8) (78 deaths)
  • Green – 2,636 cases (+13) (12 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,480 cases (+6) (14 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,779 cases (+4) (9 deaths)
  • Iron - 471 cases (+2) (19 deaths)
  • Jackson - 2,535 cases (+6) (21 deaths) (+1)
  • Jefferson – 7,462 cases (+20) (68 deaths) (+2)
  • Juneau - 2,856 cases (+5) (17 deaths) (+1)
  • Kenosha – 14,057 cases (+58) (265 deaths) (+3)
  • Kewaunee – 2,317 cases (+10) (26 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 11,417 cases (+35) (70 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 1,355 cases (+5) (7 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,882 cases (+3) (31 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,771 cases (+5) (54 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 6,839 cases (+12) (60 deaths)
  • Marathon – 13,162 cases (+30) (169 deaths)
  • Marinette - 3,872 cases (+11) (58 deaths)
  • Marquette – 1,243 cases (+1) (21 deaths)
  • Menominee - 783 cases (+1) (11 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 93,768 (+224) (1,122 deaths) (+7)
  • Monroe – 4,016 cases (+12) (30 deaths)
  • Oconto – 4,115 cases (+5) (45 deaths)
  • Oneida - 3,109 cases (+8) (55 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 18,128 cases (+55) (176 deaths) (+2)
  • Ozaukee – 7,241 cases (+30) (70 deaths) (+2)
  • Pepin – 774 cases (+3) (7 deaths)
  • Pierce – 3,259 cases (+7) (32 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,506 cases (+3) (41 deaths) (+2)
  • Portage – 6,052 cases (+8) (58 deaths)
  • Price – 1,079 cases (7 deaths)
  • Racine – 19,623 cases (+72) (293 deaths) (+3)
  • Richland - 1,209 cases (13 deaths)
  • Rock – 13,597 cases (+32) (137 deaths) (+1)
  • Rusk - 1,217 cases (14 deaths) (cases revised -1 by state)
  • Sauk – 5,007 cases (+7) (35 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 1,390 cases (+2) (17 deaths)
  • Shawano – 4,467 cases (+3) (67 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 12,358 cases (+10) (112 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 6,034 cases (+18) (39 deaths)
  • Taylor - 1,741 cases (+6) (20 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,253 cases (+7) (34 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,715 cases (+12) (33 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,877 cases (+11) (31 deaths)
  • Walworth – 8,503 cases (+20) (116 deaths)
  • Washburn – 1,206 cases (+1) (16 deaths) (+1)
  • Washington – 13,125 cases (+46) (119 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 38,608 cases (+81) (429 deaths) (+7)
  • Waupaca – 4,574 cases (+23) (104 deaths)
  • Waushara – 2,033 cases (+1) (25 deaths) (+1)
  • Winnebago – 16,376 cases (+18) (166 deaths)
  • Wood – 6,280 cases (+14) (65 deaths) (+1)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 266 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 485 cases (30 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 686 cases (+3) (20 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,606 cases (+1) (62 deaths)
  • Dickinson - 2,089 cases (+2) (56 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 823 cases (+8) (16 deaths)
  • Houghton – 1,965 cases (+6) (31 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron – 845 cases (+2) (36 deaths) (+1)
  • Keweenaw – 102 cases (1 death)
  • Luce – 129 cases
  • Mackinac - 275 cases (+1) (3 deaths)
  • Marquette - 3,382 cases (53 deaths)
  • Menominee - 1,583 cases (+4) (34 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 315 cases (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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