Delta variant accounts for 79% of COVID-19 samples tested in Wisconsin

New vaccinations exceeded people completing the vaccine series for an 8th straight day
(Associated Press)
Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 2:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - For eight straight days, the number of people getting a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for the first time was larger than the number of people finishing their vaccine series.

Numbers reported to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) show 3,014,909 Wisconsinites have now received a COVID-19 vaccine -- 5,953 more than reported the day before. That’s 51.8% of the state’s population, including 62.6% of the adult population -- 66.1% of women and 58.4% of men.

Of those, 2,867,737 Wisconsinites have completed the vaccine regimen, getting two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. That’s 3,589 more people than reported Wednesday and represents 49.3% of the state’s population, including almost 60% of adults (59.8%).

Hispanic adults are quickly catching up with non-Hispanics: 55.5% of Hispanics over 18 have received at least one dose of vaccine compared to 59.5% of non-Hispanic adults. The state says 50.8% of the adult Hispanic population is fully vaccinated versus 57.1% of non-Hispanic adults.

The DHS had 899 more coronavirus tests come back positive, bringing the total infected to 619,921 since the first case in 2020. The positivity rate jumped a half-percent, from 5.3% to 5.8%. That’s the average of all tests that came back positive in the past 7-day period and is an indicator of the virus’s spread in the state. Wisconsin is averaging 556 new cases per day -- a big jump in that rolling, 7-day average from Wednesday’s 478 cases per day).

Three more COVID-19 deaths were reported to the state, including 2 deaths in Fond du Lac County. Two of the three deaths happened in the past month and are counted toward the 7-day average, which holds steady at 2 deaths per day. The death rate remains 1.20% of known coronavirus cases. Since March 2020, 7,436 people have died from the COVID-19 virus.

In the past day, 55 people were admitted to hospitals for COVID-19. By our calculations, there are an average 43 hospitalizations per day. The state totals 33,189 people were ever hospitalized for COVID-19, or 5.35% of known cases. The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) says there are 223 COVID-19 patients currently in hospitals, 28 more than Wednesday after taking discharges and deaths into account. Sixty-two of these are in intensive care, which is 4 more than Wednesday. This is the first time since the end of May there were more than 200 COVID-19 patients hospitalized at the same time.

Hospitals in the Northeast health care region are caring for 10 of these, which is 1 fewer patient; 5 are in ICU, which is unchanged. There are 12 COVID-19 patients among the hospitals in the Fox Valley region, 1 more than Wednesday, still none in ICU.

The DHS advises that the delta variant has become the predominant strain of the COVID-19 virus in Wisconsin. The State Laboratory of Hygiene says delta accounted for 78.7% of samples tested so far this month, compared to 27.9% of samples in June.

The DHS says there were 99.7 coronavirus cases for every 100,000 people in Wisconsin between July 7 and July 27. In other words, 1 in every 1,000 people in Wisconsin has tested positive in the last two weeks.

Virus activity is high in 57 counties and moderate in 15. There are no counties where the virus’s spread is low. That’s a big change from four weeks ago, when only two counties had high virus activity. The activity level is high in every county in WBAY’s viewing area except Door, Kewaunee, Langlade, Menominee and Waushara, where it’s moderate. A county’s activity level is based on the number of new cases per capita and the trajectory, or percent change, in cases from previous weeks.

Time periodCounties with High activity
(lower is better)
Counties with
Medium activity
Counties with Low activity
(higher is better)
July 14 - July 2757150
July 7 - July 2029385
June 30 - July 13154413
June 23 - July 625218
June 16 - June 2945117
June 9 - June 2275411

The DHS says this year through July 22, over 98% of the state’s COVID-19 cases were people who were not fully vaccinated. These include people who were never vaccinated, received the first but not the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or were infected less than two weeks after getting their final dose and before it fully took effect. People who’ve had a vaccine are more likely to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Even people who recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to get vaccinated. The DHS advises that a previous COVID-19 infection doesn’t ensure protection against the delta or other variants.

About 46% of the U.S. population lives in a community the CDC considers having “high” COVID-19 transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends masks for everyone indoors in communities where the delta variant is prevalent, even if you’re vaccinated.


County (Population) (Health region)% of population (change from previous report)Completed % of population (change from previous report)
Brown (264,542) (NE)51.8% (+0.3)49.6% (+0.4)
Calumet (50,089) (FV)46.7% (+0.1)44.6% (+0.1)
Dodge (87,839)41.6% (+0.1)39.6% (+0.0)
Door (27,668) (NE)67.0% (+0.0)64.9% (+0.1)
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)44.5% (+0.1)42.5% (+0.1)
Forest (9,004)42.6% (+0.1)40.9% (+0.1)
Florence (4,295) (NE)44.7% (+0.0)43.1% (+0.0)
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)45.6% (+0.2)43.8% (+0.1)
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)41.8% (+0.1)40.7% (+0.1)
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)48.8% (+0.1)46.5% (+0.0)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)42.9% (+0.2)40.9% (+0.1)
Menominee (4,556) (FV)54.1% (+0.1)49.8% (+0.0)
Oconto (37,930) (NE)43.2% (+0.1)41.6% (+0.1)
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)51.7% (+0.2)49.3% (+0.1)
Shawano (40,899) (FV)38.2% (+0.2)36.4% (+0.1)
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)50.2% (+0.1)48.1% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)44.6% (+0.1)42.8% (+0.1)
Waushara (24,443) (FV)36.8% (+0.1)35.3% (+0.1)
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)49.7% (+0.1)47.5% (+0.1)
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)238,240 (50.2%) (+0.1)228,229 (48.1%) (+0.0)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)264,458 (48.1%) (+0.1)252,448 (45.9%) (+0.0)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,014,909 (51.8%) (+0.1)2,867,737 (49.3%) (+0.1)

Wisconsin population vaccinated, by age group (and change since Tuesday)

  • 12-15: 33.3% received a dose (+0.3)/28.5% completed (+0.1)
  • 16-17: 42.4% received a dose (+0.2)/38.5% completed (+0.1)
  • 18-24: 44.4% received a dose (+0.1)/40.8% completed (+0.1)
  • 25-34: 48.9% received a dose (+0.1)/45.8% completed (+0.1)
  • 35-44: 56.8% received a dose (+0.1)/53.8% completed (+0.1)
  • 45-54: 59.0% received a dose (+0.1)/56.2% completed (+0.1)
  • 55-64: 69.2% received a dose (+0.1)/66.6% completed (+0.1)
  • 65+: 83.8% received a dose (+0.1)/81.7% completed (+0.0)

Health departments and school districts urged parents to start getting kids 12 and up vaccinated ahead of school. Health officials note that vaccinating older children can protect younger siblings who are too young to get the vaccine as well as other members of the family and their friends. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved so far for kids ages 12 to 17. A second dose is needed 3 weeks later, and it takes two weeks after that to take full effect.

The CDC recommends face masks in K-12 schools for students, teachers, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Recently, Appleton Area Public Schools and St. Mary Catholic Schools said they intend to make wearing masks optional when the new school year begins. Green Bay Area Public Schools decided to make masks optional for grades 7 through 12 but will continue requiring them for young kids through 6th grade since many of them are too young to be eligible for a vaccine. The Green Bay Area Catholic Education System (GRACE) says mask wearing will be left up to each school and the parents. Neenah’s school board voted Tuesday night to make masks optional.

Tuesday, the DHS website removed the number of active and recovered cases -- those are people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus in the last 30 days or survived past the 30 days. The last report on Monday said 1% of cases were active and 98% were considered recovered. Health officials acknowledged long ago that “recovered” cases included people suffering long-term health effects from their infection, the so-called “long haulers.”

THURSDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold) **

  • Brown – 32,153 cases (+33) (259 deaths)
  • Calumet – 5,892 cases (+4) (51 deaths)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 2,432 cases (59 deaths)
  • Dodge – 12,113 cases (+17) (177 deaths)
  • Door – 2,646 cases (30 deaths)
  • Florence - 458 cases (13 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 12,718 cases (+17) (133 deaths) (+2)
  • Forest - 979 cases (24 deaths)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 1,083 cases (24 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,632 cases (+2) (21 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 1,004 cases (43 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 2,389 cases (+1) (28 deaths)
  • Langlade - 2,059 cases (35 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 7,687 cases (+4) (76 deaths)
  • Marinette - 4,254 cases (+2) (68 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 1,806 cases (41 deaths)
  • Menominee – 808 cases (+2) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 4,569 cases (+4) (63 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 20,986 cases (+11) (225 deaths)
  • Shawano – 4,803 cases (+3) (73 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 13,989 cases (+8) (154 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 5,015 cases (+2) (123 deaths)
  • Waushara – 2,231 cases (+1) (35 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 18,523 cases (+21) (203 deaths)

* The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Hospital Association do not publish updates on weekends. Michigan Department of Health only updates information on Tuesdays and Fridays.

** Cases and deaths are from state COVID-19 reports, which may differ from local health department numbers. The Wisconsin 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.

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