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DHS updates variant tracking site, sees uptick in cases

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 9:17 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has health experts encouraging people to double down on mitigation efforts.

This as state health officials see evidence of all five coronavirus variants in Wisconsin

The Department of Health Services updated its COVID-19 variant tracker adding two variant strains and a chart tracking each strain by region.

“It also displays a statewide table showing the number of variant cases identified during sequencing in proportion to the number of positive tests that are sequenced. This is because not all positive COVID-19 tests are sequenced,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer, DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases.

Health officials say this gives a more accurate picture of the variants present in Wisconsin.

The two most prevalent right now are the B.1.1.7 first detected in the UK in November of 2020, and the California variant, first detected last May.

“The risk then these can spread throughout the population more quickly and easily and eventually can become the predominant strain that’s going around in the community,” said Dr. Westergaard.

This as Wisconsin sees an uptick in positive cases, particularly in those under the age of 18.

“We can’t think that we’re done with this, we have to be vigilant, we have to wear masks, we have to gather outdoors, we have to encourage vaccination for everyone who is eligible,” said Westergaard.

The state continues to see fluctuations on the number of doses it receives on a weekly basis.

“This week we learned Pfizer and Moderna supply will continue at current levels, we will receive significantly fewer Johnson and Johnson doses than originally anticipated,” said Deputy Secretary, Julie Willems Van Dijk, Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Health officials say a little over a third of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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