COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Unvaccinated were 19 times more likely to die in September

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 2:32 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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NOTE: The daily updates on vaccination numbers and 24-hour hospitalizations were not available Friday from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released its side-by-side comparison of COVID-19 cases among people who were fully vaccinated and who were not fully vaccinated last month.

There were more than 2,351 confirmed cases for every 100,000 people who were not fully vaccinated or never received a COVID-19 vaccine at all (2351.2 per capita). There were 122 hospitalizations (122.0) and about 25 deaths (24.5) per 100,000.

By comparison, there were more than 513 so-called “breakthrough” cases among the fully vaccinated -- those who were 2 weeks or more past completing their regimen. There were almost 14 hospitalizations (13.8) and more than 1 death (1.3) per 100,000.

Put another way, people who were fully vaccinated by the end of September were 4 1/2 times less likely to test positive, almost 9 times more likely to stay out of the hospital and 19 times more likely to be alive at the end of the month. Flip that around, if you prefer: During the coronavirus surge in September, people who weren’t fully vaccinated were 4 1/2 times more likely to test positive for the COVID-19 virus, almost 9 times more likely to be hospitalized and 19 times likely to die.

The DHS does not break down the “not fully vaccinated” numbers by unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. In its comparisons, the DHS considers a person fully vaccinated if they’re at least 2 weeks past their final dose -- either the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or their shot of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. On September 16, there were 3,066,412 Wisconsinites who completed their vaccination series.

The rate of COVID-19 infection was 0.513% for fully vaccinated persons -- about 1 in 194. It was 2.351% for the rest of the population -- about 1 out of every 43.

The Department of Health Services provided this graphical representation of September’s comparison. The article continues below the graphic.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released this side-by-side comparison of COVID-19...
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services released this side-by-side comparison of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths per 100,000 fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated populations.(Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

Also of note, teenagers who weren’t fully vaccinated had the highest infection rate in September. Kids 16 to 17 years old had an infection rate of 4,232.8 per 100,000 (4.23%), followed by 12- to 15-year-olds with an infection rate of 3,576.9 for every 100,000 (3.58%). The third-highest infection rate was among adults 35 to 44 who aren’t fully vaccinated, 2,908 cases for every 100,000, or 2.91%.

Infection rates for each age group in September 2021

Age groupUnvaccinated or not fully vaccinated
population infected
Fully vaccinated
population infected
0-111.58%Not eligible
65 and up2.43%0.55%

The vaccinated are the majority in the state.

Friday’s vaccination numbers have not been updated by the DHS at the time of this writing. The DHS says it was working out a discrepancy in the vaccination reporting.

As of yesterday 57.3% of all Wisconsin residents received at least one dose of vaccine, including 54.5% of the population who completed their vaccine series. Out of the 42.7% of the population that haven’t received a shot, 14% are children too young to be eligible. Counting just the adults, the state says 71.8% of women and 64.2% of men received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Department of Health Services reports new COVID-19 cases are on the decline. Friday, the state was averaging 2,198 new cases per day over the past week. It was the first time in exactly a month that the 7-day average was below 2,200. The actually tally was 2,399 new cases confirmed in the latest test results. An average of 8.2% of tests over the last 7-day period were positive for the COVID-19 virus, which is unchanged from the day before.

Winnbago County reported 2 COVID-19 deaths. Dodge County reported 1. A total of 9 COVID-19 death reports were submitted to the state in the past day -- the first time we haven’t seen double digits since October 6. The DHS releases five updates per week, and this is only the third time the state added fewer than 10 deaths out of 30 updates since the start of September. All 9 deaths occurred within the past 30 days. Wisconsin is currently averaging 17 deaths per day over the past week. Friday’s county case and death totals for WBAY’s viewing area are updated at the end of this article.

We don’t have a report of how many people were hospitalized in the past 24 hours, but the Wisconsin Hospital Association, which takes discharges and deaths into account, reports 1,092 people were in hospitals Friday for COVID-19, including 297 in intensive care -- that’s 5 more in ICU but 31 fewer patients overall since Thursday. The Northeast health care region added 1 patient: There are 155 in COVID care, with 33 of them in ICU. Fox Valley hospitals dropped to 90 COVID-19 patients, with 24 in ICU -- two fewer in intensive care and 12 fewer patients overall.

The 13 Fox Valley hospitals reported a total 3 ICU beds immediately available Friday. The 10 Northeast region hospitals had 10 ICU beds. These are for patients with all serious conditions, not just COVID-19.

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

  • 12-15: 47.3% received vaccine (+0.1)/43.5% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 16-17: 52.3% received vaccine (+0.0)/48.9% fully vaccinated (+0.0)
  • 18-24: 52.4% received vaccine (+0.1)/48.0% fully vaccinated (+0.0)
  • 25-34: 56.8% received vaccine (+0.0)/52.9% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 35-44: 64.3% received vaccine (+0.0)/60.8% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 45-54: 65.4% received vaccine (+0.1)/62.4% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 55-64: 74.0% received vaccine (+0.1)/71.5% fully vaccinated (+0.0)
  • 65 and up: 86.0% received vaccine (+0.1)/83.8% fully vaccinated (+0.0)


County (Population) (Health region)% of population (change from previous report)Completed % of population (change from previous report)
Brown (264,542) (NE)58.0% (+0.0)55.7% (+0.1)
Calumet (50,089) (FV)51.7% (+0.0)49.6% (+0.0)
Dodge (87,839)47.0% (+0.1)44.7% (+0.1)
Door (27,668) (NE)72.3% (+0.0)69.5% (+0.1)
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)50.2% (+0.0)47.8% (+0.0)
Forest (9,004)47.6% (+0.0)45.3% (+0.1)
Florence (4,295) (NE)47.8% (+0.1)46.1% (+0.1)
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)51.8% (+0.1)49.3% (+0.1)
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)47.2% (+0.0)45.6% (+0.0)
Langlade (19,189)49.0% (+0.0)46.9% (+0.1)
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)54.5% (+0.1)52.3% (+0.1)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)48.1% (+0.0)45.8% (+0.0)
Menominee (4,556) (FV)69.0% (+0.1)65.8% (+0.2)
Oconto (37,930) (NE)48.6% (+0.1)46.8% (+0.1)
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)57.6% (+0.0)55.2% (+0.0)
Shawano (40,899) (FV)43.2% (+0.0)41.2% (+0.1)
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)55.7% (+0.0)53.6% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)50.4% (+0.0)48.0% (+0.0)
Waushara (24,443) (FV)41.4% (+0.0)39.4% (+0.1)
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)55.6% (+0.1)53.1% (+0.1)
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)266,183 (56.1%) (+0.0)255,427 (53.9%) (+0.1)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)296,170 (53.9%) (+0.1)283,152 (51.5%) (+0.0)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,334,926 (57.3%) (+0.1)3,175,994 (54.5%) (+0.0)


The De Pere Health Dept. is holding a drive-through vaccination clinic Saturday, Oct. 23, from 10 A.M. to 2:10 P.M. at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, 347 Libal St. The clinic is by appointment only. You can get the Pfizer vaccine (2nd dose Nov. 13 at St. Anne’s) or one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are free. Flu shots are also available, free for 6 months through 18 years old, or $20 for adults 19 and older.

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.

The Oshkosh Farmers Market is hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics on three Saturdays in October: Oct. 16, Oct. 23, and Oct. 30. All of the clinics will be held at the Time Community Theater, 445 N. Main St., from 8 A.M. to 12 P.M. The Winnebago County Health Department will have vaccine available for everyone age 12 and up. The vaccine is free.


The City of Appleton is expanding its testing and vaccination clinics at the old Best Buy building, 2411 S. Kensington Dr. Starting October 18, the site will offer walk-in testing Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Walk-in vaccination clinics are on Thursdays from 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. and Fridays from 7 A.M. to 12 P.M. Pre-registration isn’t required, but it’s encouraged to speed up the process.

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 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.

FRIDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (increases in cases or deaths since the last report are in bold) **

  • Brown – 38,919 cases (+76) (264 deaths)
  • Calumet – 6,928 cases (+22) (53 deaths)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 2,954 cases (64 deaths)
  • Dodge – 14,401 cases (+33) (197 deaths) (+1)
  • Door – 3,395 cases (+19) (31 deaths)
  • Florence - 513 cases (+5) (13 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 16,158 cases (+66) (144 deaths)
  • Forest - 1,371 cases (+4) (27 deaths)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 1,348 cases (24 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 2,374 cases (+11) (26 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 1,248 cases (44 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 2,891 cases (+10) (30 deaths)
  • Langlade - 2,840 cases (+12) (38 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 9,427 cases (+33) (83 deaths)
  • Marinette - 5,441 cases (+33) (69 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 2,442 cases (44 deaths)
  • Menominee – 921 cases (+1) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 5,833 cases (+30) (65 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 24,694 cases (+82) (241 deaths)
  • Shawano – 5,900 cases (+21) (77 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 16,340 cases (+41) (167 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 6,480 cases (+39) (137 deaths)
  • Waushara – 2,914 cases (+3) (45 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 22,611 cases (+76) (228 deaths) (+2)

* 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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