Wisconsin: COVID-19 virus spread “critically high” in 8 counties

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 2:24 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 3:40 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin state health officials say the spread of the COVID-19 virus reached critical levels in 8 counties, six more than it reported a week ago. These include Forest, Green Lake and Oconto counties. Virus activity is “very high” in 62 counties and high in the remaining 2, including Florence County. These labels are based on the number of positive cases per capita over the last two weeks (the “burden”) and the percent change in the number of cases in the past week (the “trajectory”). There are no counties with moderate or low activity.

Critically high: Barron, Buffalo, Forest, Green Lake, Oconto, Rusk, Trempeleau, Washburn

Very high: Adams, Ashland, Bayfield, Brown, Burnett, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Door, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Iowa, Iron, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Monroe, Oneida, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Taylor, Vernon, Vilas, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Wood

High: Douglas, Florence

The Department of Health Services (DHS) says over the past two weeks, there were about 662 cases for every 100,000 people in Wisconsin. In our area, case numbers are on a rising trajectory in Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Langlade, Marinette, Manitowoc, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago counties. Only Florence, Forest and Menominee counties saw no significant change. The DHS website shows no counties in Wisconsin on a falling trajectory.

Health Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake says the number of cases in Wisconsin almost doubled in the past two weeks, and only about 5% of all ICU beds in the state are available. She says hospitals are reporting a strain on their staffing. She didn’t give specific numbers but said cases among children are increasing, particularly among 9 to 13 year olds.

ThedaCare says Wisconsin ranks #2 in the nation for the largest increase in COVID-19 cases over the past week, citing the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. ThedaCare president/CEO Dr. Imran Adnrabi released a statement Wednesday afternoon “imploring” people in the community to get vaccinated. “That next surge is here. Our teams are currently strained caring for COVID and non-COVID patients. We must be available to care for those with COVID, and those suffering from serious medical situations such as heart attacks, stroke, trauma and providing cancer care treatments, and we cannot do that without the communities’ help to change course and get COVID infections under control.”

Timberlake says the blame goes to the more-contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. She says the state is still emphasizing all the things that can be done to slow the spread of the virus: Get one of the vaccines, wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands frequently, stay home if you feel sick.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed 2,723 new cases with the latest test results, after more than 3,400 cases a day ago. That helped tamp down the rolling, 7-day average from 2,967 to 2,857 Wednesday. Statewide, the positivity rate slipped from an average of 7.9% of all tests coming back positive over the past week to 7.7%. Wednesday’s numbers pushed Winnebago County past 21,000 cases. Brown County is nearing 36,000 cases since the pandemic began.

The COVID-19 death toll rose 22 to 7,876. Nineteen of these deaths occurred in the past 30 days.. Forest, Waushara, and Winnebago each reported one death. The state is averaging 12 deaths per day over the last week.

More than 38,000 people (38,064) have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in Wisconsin during the pandemic, adding 129 patients to that number in the past day. Our calculated 7-day average of cases is down to 109 admissions per day. Taking discharges and deaths into account, the state’s hospitals have 1,103 COVID-19 patients, 18 more than the day before, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. There are 318 in ICU, which is 14 fewer. Hospitals in the Fox Valley region have 103 of those patients, the same as Tuesday, with 22 in ICU, which is 1 fewer. Hospitals in the Northeast health care region have 112 patients, including 26 in ICU -- 11 more patients since Tuesday’s report but the same number in ICU.

The Fox Valley health region now has half of the entire population of those eight counties completely vaccinated, which is almost 275,000 people. That percentage includes kids too young to get a vaccine. Counting only adults, 63.4% in that region has at least started their vaccinations, including 60.1% of all adults fully inoculated.

The Northeast and Fox Valley regions both lag behind the state as a whole. Statewide, 56.3% of the population received at least one vaccine dose and 53.1% of the population got all its doses. See the county, regional and state numbers in the table below.


County (Population) (Health region)% of population (change from previous report)Completed % of population (change from previous report)
Brown (264,542) (NE)57.1% (+0.1)54.0% (+0.1)
Calumet (50,089) (FV)51.1% (+0.1)48.5% (+0.0)
Dodge (87,839)46.1% (+0.1)43.4% (+0.2)
Door (27,668) (NE)71.3% (+0.1)68.3% (+0.2)
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)49.2% (+0.1)46.2% (+0.1)
Forest (9,004)46.5% (+0.1)43.8% (+0.1)
Florence (4,295) (NE)47.1% (+0.0)45.4% (+0.1)
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)50.6% (+0.1)47.4% (+0.2)
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)46.5% (+0.1)44.3% (+0.1)
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)53.6% (+0.1)50.8% (+0.1)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)47.2% (+0.0)44.3% (+0.1)
Menominee (4,556) (FV)67.0% (+0.1)61.9% (+0.4)
Oconto (37,930) (NE)47.7% (+0.1)45.3% (+0.1)
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)56.8% (+0.1)53.7% (+0.1)
Shawano (40,899) (FV)42.4% (+0.1)39.8% (+0.1)
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)54.9% (+0.1)52.1% (+0.0)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)49.5% (+0.1)46.5% (+0.1)
Waushara (24,443) (FV)40.4% (+0.0)38.3% (+0.1)
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)54.6% (+0.1)51.5% (+0.1)
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)261,744 (55.2%) (+0.1)248,084 (52.3%) (+0.1)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)291,138 (53.0%) (+0.1)274,936 (50.0%) (+0.1)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,280,843 (56.3%) (+0.0)3,093,777 (53.1%) (+0.1)

Wisconsinites getting COVID-19 vaccine, by age group (and change since last report)

  • 12-15: 45.7% received vaccine (+0.2)/40.4% fully vaccinated (+0.3)
  • 16-17: 51.2% received vaccine (+0.1)/46.6% fully vaccinated (+0.2)
  • 18-24: 51.1% received vaccine (+0.1)/46.0% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 25-34: 55.4% received vaccine (+0.1)/50.7% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 35-44: 63.1% received vaccine (+0.2)/58.7% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 45-54: 64.4% received vaccine (+0.1)/60.7% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 55-64: 73.2% received vaccine (+0.0)/70.3% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 65 and up: 85.3% received vaccine (+0.1)/83.3% fully vaccinated (+0.1)

Article continues below video of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services briefing, including county case and death totals


Wednesday, the City of Green Bay and Brown County announced vaccination clinics in October to reach people who live and work in and around downtown. These free clinics are on the first floor of the Sophie Beaumont Building, 111 N. Jefferson St., on October 1 from 9 A.M. to 12 P.M. and October 8 from 12 P.M. to 3 P.M. People will get the Pfizer vaccine, and clinics for their second dose will be held three weeks later.

The community vaccination clinic inside Fox River Mall in Grand Chute is open from 11 A.M. to 7 P.M. on select dates through December 15. The list of dates will be updated on the Outagamie County website. No appointment is necessary for this walk-in clinic, which is located near the food court and Scheel’s. There’s no cost and no ID required.

On top of encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials are also urging people to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible, so that overwhelmed hospitals don’t have to deal with flu cases in addition to the COVID-19 cases. The flu season was almost non-existent last year when more people were self-isolating or social distancing, masking, and following other mitigation protocols against COVID-19 -- the same protocols that slow the spread of the flu virus.


Walk-in or drive-through COVID-19 testing is available at Sunnyview Expo Center weekdays from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., with the Wisconsin National Guard handling the testing. Registration is encouraged at www.winnebagopublichealth.org. Testing is recommended (and free) for anyone as young as 1 year old who’s been in close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, which can include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscle ache, or sudden loss of taste or smell. Results are usually back within 48 hours.

The City of Appleton announced a walk-in clinic in the old Best Buy building, 2411 S. Kensington Dr. It’s open every Tuesday from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. through Dec. 14 (see the list of dates here). Pre-registration isn’t required, but it’s encouraged to speed up the process.

WEDNESDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (increase since the last report is in bold)**

  • Brown – 35,989 cases (+204) (264 deaths)
  • Calumet – 6,525 cases (+18) (53 deaths)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 2,720 cases (+31) (60 deaths)
  • Dodge – 13,454 cases (+56) (188 deaths)
  • Door – 3,037 cases (+10) (31 deaths)
  • Florence - 479 cases (+1) (13 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 14,636 cases (+61) (140 deaths)
  • Forest - 1,207 cases (+6) (26 deaths) (+1)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 1,226 cases (+3) (23 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Green Lake - 2,013 cases (+12) (25 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 1,136 cases (+7) (43 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 2,623 cases (+6) (30 deaths)
  • Langlade - 2,445 cases (+17) (36 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 8,606 cases (+37) (80 deaths)
  • Marinette - 4,768 cases (+20) (69 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 2,182 cases (+40) (44 deaths)
  • Menominee – 871 cases (+5) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 5,246 cases (+18) (65 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 23,153 cases (+69) (231 deaths)
  • Shawano – 5,377 cases (+49) (75 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 15,460 cases (+16) (155 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 5,759 cases (+52) (134 deaths)
  • Waushara – 2,531 cases (+12) (40 deaths) (+1)
  • Winnebago – 21,040 cases (+72) (215 deaths) (+1)

* You can find a list of cases and deaths for all Wisconsin counties on the DHS County Data website. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Hospital Association do not publish updates on weekends. Update: Michigan Department of Health updates information on Mondays, Wednesdays 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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