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COVID-19 vaccinations set daily record as average of new cases falls to lowest since July

We had to look back to July 10 to find a 7-day average lower than 659 cases.
Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 2:18 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 18, 2021 at 2:44 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) reported an uptick in new cases for a third straight day, but the numbers have been so low that the 7-day average is still trending down. The state says 5,547 test results for people tested for the coronavirus -- or testing positive -- for the first time identified 733 cases.

Wisconsin has now gone 7 straight days with fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 cases each day, which hasn’t happened since August 28-September 3. And by our calculations, the 7-day average for new cases is 659 a day. We had to look all the way back to July 10 to find an average lower than that.

The percentage of positive cases looking at first-time tests was 13.21% and the 7-day average positivity rate, again by our calculation, is down to 14.51%. That’s the lowest in 5 months. By the state’s new metric looking at all test results, including health care workers, patients and others being tested multiple times, the 7-day average is down to 3.0%. As we’ve reported, health officials want to see these positivity rates fall to 3% to consider the COVID-19 virus is being managed.

Wisconsin also saw a day-to-day increase in the number of COVID-19 deaths. Eighteen more people were added to the death toll, bringing it to 6,232. That’s still 1.12% of all known coronavirus cases in the state. Wisconsin is averaging 13 deaths per day over the past 7 days, but one month ago that average was 44 deaths per day.

Dane, Kenosha and Milwaukee counties each reported 3 deaths. Oneida County reported two. Barron, Calumet, Douglas, Outagamie, Sheboygan, Waukesha and Waupaca counties each had one more death.

New cases were identified in all but four Wisconsin counties, with Ashland, Buffalo, Pepin and Rusk being the exceptions. Twenty-one of the 68 counties with new cases only reported 1 or 2.

County case and death totals appear later in this article.

Wisconsin set a new record for the day-to-day reporting of completed COVID-19 vaccinations. The state says 24,870 people received the second dose since Wednesday’s report, completing their vaccination regimen. We expected to see that metric jump as more people 65 and older fall into the 3- to 4-week window for their second dose. Vaccinations of older adults began in earnest 24 days ago, and it can take one, two, or three days for vaccinators’ updates to be included in the state numbers.

The state says 5% of the population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or 288,747 people. 761,336 people in the state have received at least one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, which is 13.1% of the state’s population. In all, the DHS says 1,070,199 shots have been administered, including first and second doses.

Since February 5, 2020, the state says 557,722 people tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, which is almost 10% of the population. The state reports 97.1% of these people (541,515) are considered recovered, meaning it’s been more than 30 days since they were first diagnosed or noticed symptoms, though some may be considered “long haulers” with lingering effects from their infection. There are only 9,816 active cases in the cases right now, which is 1.8% of all cases.

Action 2 News 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.

Health officials are also encouraging people in minority groups to get vaccinated, seeing a disparity in the numbers and knowing minority groups are disproportionately effected by COVID-19′s serious symptoms. To date, 12.3% of all the state’s white residents received a dose or two of COVID-19 vaccine. In comparison, only 8.5% of American Indians, 5.6% of Asians and 3.6% of the state’s Black population received the vaccine. (The DHS says 8.3% of records listed race as “Unknown” and 4.9% reported it as “Other.”) For more information about racial and ethnic disparities in the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

HOSPITALIZATIONS

The DHS says 58 more people were hospitalized for COVID-19, the ninth day with fewer than 100 hospitalizations. That’s in line with the 7-day average of 59 people hospitalized per day. Since the virus’s first appearance in Wisconsin, 25,556 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, which is 4.6% of all known cases.

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported there were 388 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals (3 more than the day before), including 107 in intensive care (unchanged from Wednesday). It was the third time in a week there were fewer than 400 patients hospitalized at one time.

Fox Valley hospitals reported 20 COVID-19 patients, one more than Wednesday, with 2 in ICU (unchanged).

Hospitals in the Northeast Region were treating 31 COVID-19 patients, 1 less than the day before, with 12 in ICU, which is 1 more than Wednesday.

Changes in daily hospitalizations take new admissions, discharges and deaths into account.

HOSPITAL READINESS

In terms of hospital readiness, the WHA reported 263 ICU beds (17.9%) and 2,314 of all medical beds (20.7%) are open in the state’s 134 hospitals. All medical beds include ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation. These are beds for all patients, not just COVID-19.

The Fox Valley region’s 13 hospitals reported 10 open ICU beds (9.6%) among them, and 114 open medical beds (13.4%) for the eight counties they serve. The hospitals had no intermediate care beds available Thursday.

In the Northeast region’s 10 hospitals, 28 ICU beds (13.5%) and 208 of all medical beds (21.8%) are open.

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.

Statewide, 16 of the 134 hospitals report they have less than a 7-day supply of gowns and 11 are running low on paper medical masks. Those numbers are the same as Monday.

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

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 1,562 cases (+7) (11 deaths)
  • Ashland – 1,168 cases (16 deaths)
  • Barron – 5,270 cases (+3) (75 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield - 1,062 cases (+1) (18 deaths)
  • Brown – 30,013 cases (+25) (203 deaths)
  • Buffalo – 1,308 cases (7 deaths)
  • Burnett – 1,168 cases (+2) (23 deaths)
  • Calumet – 5,410 cases (+4) (43 deaths) (+1)
  • Chippewa – 6,989 cases (+5) (90 deaths)
  • Clark – 3,148 cases (+4) (57 deaths)
  • Columbia – 4,973 cases (+10) (50 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,661 cases (+1) (17 deaths)
  • Dane – 39,584 (+144) (267 deaths) (+3)
  • Dodge – 11,340 cases (+4) (154 deaths)
  • Door – 2,401 cases (+3) (19 deaths)
  • Douglas – 3,643 cases (+2) (24 deaths) (+1)
  • Dunn – 4,205 cases (+1) (27 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 10,895 cases (+11) (104 deaths)
  • Florence - 432 cases (+1) (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 11,846 cases (+8) (89 deaths)
  • Forest - 921 cases (+1) (23 deaths)
  • Grant – 4,608 cases (+3) (79 deaths)
  • Green – 3,023 cases (+12) (16 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,520 cases (+2) (18 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,840 cases (+1) (9 deaths)
  • Iron - 529 cases (+5) (20 deaths)
  • Jackson - 2,575 cases (+2) (23 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 7,785 cases (+3) (76 deaths)
  • Juneau - 2,967 cases (+4) (19 deaths)
  • Kenosha – 14,681 cases (+35) (296 deaths) (+3)
  • Kewaunee – 2,410 cases (+4) (27 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 12,093 cases (+7) (75 deaths)
  • Lafayette - 1,430 cases (+1) (7 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,923 cases (+1) (31 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,877 cases (+5) (56 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 7,178 cases (+9) (61 deaths)
  • Marathon – 13,532 cases (+10) (171 deaths)
  • Marinette - 3,966 cases (+4) (61 deaths)
  • Marquette – 1,297 cases (+1) (21 deaths)
  • Menominee - 793 cases (+1) (11 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 97,318 (+89) (1,218 deaths) (+3)
  • Monroe – 4,247 cases (+3) (30 deaths)
  • Oconto – 4,240 cases (+2) (47 deaths)
  • Oneida - 3,329 cases (+10) (66 deaths) (+2)
  • Outagamie – 18,983 cases (+26) (189 deaths) (+1)
  • Ozaukee – 7,557 cases (+9) (73 deaths)
  • Pepin – 800 cases (7 deaths)
  • Pierce – 3,421 cases (+4) (33 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,811 cases (+15) (44 deaths)
  • Portage – 6,395 cases (+19) (63 deaths)
  • Price – 1,144 cases (+7) (7 deaths)
  • Racine – 20,171 cases (+9) (314 deaths)
  • Richland - 1,266 cases (+1) (13 deaths)
  • Rock – 14,253 cases (+23) (151 deaths)
  • Rusk - 1,241 cases (16 deaths)
  • Sauk – 5,210 cases (+17) (39 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 1,479 cases (+8) (21 deaths)
  • Shawano – 4,557 cases (+1) (70 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 12,738 cases (+18) (126 deaths) (+1)
  • St. Croix – 6,294 cases (+10) (42 deaths)
  • Taylor - 1,792 cases (+7) (20 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,364 cases (+2) (36 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,804 cases (+2) (36 deaths)
  • Vilas - 2,075 cases (+2) (36 deaths)
  • Walworth – 8,766 cases (+8) (124 deaths)
  • Washburn – 1,278 cases (+4) (18 deaths)
  • Washington – 13,630 cases (+16) (129 deaths)
  • Waukesha – 40,190 cases (+41) (468 deaths) (+1)
  • Waupaca – 4,731 cases (+6) (111 deaths) (+1)
  • Waushara – 2,087 cases (+1) (28 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 16,886 cases (+18) (179 deaths)
  • Wood – 6,639 cases (+8) (72 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 277 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 503 cases (+2) (32 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 713 cases (+4) (21 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,639 cases (65 deaths)
  • Dickinson - 2,119 cases (55 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 910 cases (18 deaths)
  • Houghton – 2,073 cases (+5) (32 deaths)
  • Iron – 864 cases (39 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 109 cases (+1) (1 death)
  • Luce – 132 cases
  • Mackinac - 281 cases (+1) (3 deaths)
  • Marquette - 3,441 cases (+1) (54 deaths)
  • Menominee - 1,608 cases (35 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 356 cases (19 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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