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COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Sharp drops in cases, hospitalizations Friday, deaths up

The Department of Health Services reported the fewest new cases on a weekday in two weeks
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 3:12 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 3:55 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – The state health department reported the fewest new coronavirus cases on a weekday in two weeks, following 7 days that have seen record highs. Hospital admissions also saw a sharp drop in daily numbers Friday, but the number of people dying from COVID-19 went up again.

As we’ve reported, many of the high case numbers since last Friday were due to a change that automatically imported test results from local and tribal health departments, clearing a backlog of cases, but case numbers continued to rise even after that backlog cleared.

Friday, the Department of Health Services reported 11,628 new cases. That, along with the fact last Friday’s record caseload is no longer counted, brought the 7-day average to 17,586 cases per day, down from 18,836 -- a drop of more than 1,200 cases per day in the rolling average.

The positivity rate -- the percentage of all tests that came back positive in the last week -- dropped to 26.1%, the lowest it’s been since January 3.

The DHS reported 160 more hospitalizations for COVID-19 treatment in the past 24-hour period. That’s the fewest reported on a weekday since December 31 (the state doesn’t update its numbers on weekends). After taking discharges and deaths into account, current patient numbers went down again.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported 2,021 COVID-19 patients in hospitals around the state, including 421 in ICU. That’s 24 fewer in ICU and 78 fewer patients overall since Thursday. It’s the lowest patient total since January 5 and the lowest ICU report since December 31.

Locally, hospitals in the Northeast health care region report 213 patients, 7 fewer than yesterday, with 43 in ICU, down 3. Fox Valley hospitals have 138 patients, down 27, and 23 in ICU, down 3. Hospital beds remain an issue, with the 13 Fox Valley hospitals collectively reporting 1 ICU bed, no intermediate care beds, 3 medical surgical beds, and 4 negative-flow isolation beds available (these beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19 care).

Sixty-six lives were added to COVID-19′s death toll. The DHS says fewer than half (27) were people who died in the last 30 days. Those are the only lives the DHS counts towards the 7-day average, but even by the state’s measure the average rose to 33 deaths per day in the past week. That rolling average was 32 yesterday and 29 two days ago.

Nine of the counties in WBAY’s viewing area reported 25 of the deaths: Brown (5), Calumet, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake (4), Langlade, Sheboygan (6), Waupaca (5) and Winnebago.

If you counted all of the death certificates from COVID-19 given to the state this week, regardless of when the persons died, this was the third deadliest week in a year with 269 people added to the death toll. This record-setting week also saw the addition of 130,218 cases and 1,625 hospitalizations.

In a news conference Thursday, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer said the omicron variant hasn’t peaked in Wisconsin. It appears to have peaked in states where it was first detected, and Dr. Ryan Westergaard was hopeful the state is at or near its peak even though the data don’t show it yet.

This week also saw the addition of 16,794 joining the ranks of the vaccinated, and 16,197 completing their vaccine series (people getting the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are included in both sets of numbers).

The DHS reports almost 3 out of 5 Wisconsinites (59.0%, or 3,439,537 people) completed their vaccine series with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or both doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. that’s out of 63.0% of the population that received at least one dose of a vaccine so far.

Almost 1 in 4 children ages 5 to 11 have received a dose of Pfizer vaccine since it was approved for their age group less than three months ago.

FRIDAY’S VACCINATIONS BY AGE GROUP (and change since last report)

  • 5 to 11: 24.1% received vaccine (+0.1)/18.6% completed vaccinations (+0.2)
  • 12 to 17: 58.9% received vaccine (+0.0)/54.1% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 18 to 24: 58.1% received vaccine (+0.0)/52.2% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 25 to 34: 62.4% received vaccine (+0.0)/57.1% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 35 to 44: 68.0% received vaccine (+0.0)/63.9% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 45 to 54: 70.7% received vaccine (+0.0)/67.2% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 55 to 64: 77.5% received vaccine (+0.1)/74.3% completed vaccinations (+0.0)
  • 65 and up: 85.6% received vaccine (+0.0)/82.0% completed vaccinations (+0.0)

FRIDAY’S VACCINATIONS BY COUNTY POPULATION (and change since last report)

County (Population)
(Health region)
% of population
with at least 1 dose
% of population
completed series
Brown (264,542) (NE)64.3%60.8%
Calumet (50,089) (FV)56.1% (+0.1)53.2% (+0.1)
Dodge (87,839)51.6% (+0.1)48.6%
Door (27,668) (NE)77.8%73.0%
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)54.8% (+0.1)51.6% (+0.1)
Forest (9,004)51.8%48.6%
Florence (4,295) (NE)51.7%49.0%
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)56.8%53.3%
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)52.0% (+0.1)49.8%
Langlade (19,189)53.3% (+0.1)50.7% (+0.1)
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)59.6%56.6% (+0.1)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)52.5%49.6%
Menominee (4,556) (FV)78.9% (+0.2)74.6% (+0.2)
Oconto (37,930) (NE)52.3%49.7%
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)63.2%59.6%
Shawano (40,899) (FV)47.0%44.7%
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)61.8% (+0.1)58.3% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)54.9% (+0.1)52.0%
Waushara (24,443) (FV)45.5% (+0.2)43.0% (+0.2)
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)61.3%57.6%
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)293,012 (61.7%)277,089 (58.4%, +0.1)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)325,159 (59.1%)306,659 (55.8%, +0.1)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,676,342 (63.0%)3,439,537 (59.0%, +0.1)

To find free COVID-19 vaccination sites near you, text your ZIP Code to 438829. For a list of health care organizations offering vaccine shots, visit wbay.com/vaccine.

FRIDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (boldface indicates change in cases or deaths since the last report) **

  • Brown – 64,257 cases (+580) (323 deaths) (+5)
  • Calumet – 10,649 cases (+138) (83 deaths) (+1)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 4,380 cases (+98) (78 deaths)
  • Dodge – 22,199 cases (+249) (253 deaths) (+1)
  • Door – 6,032 cases (+45) (44 deaths)
  • Florence - 718 cases (+10) (15 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 26,657 cases (+228) (192 deaths) (+1)
  • Forest - 2,149 cases (+46) (43 deaths)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 2,442 cases (+41) (35 deaths) (+1)
  • Green Lake - 3,698 cases (+39) (45 deaths) (+4)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 2,009 cases (+60) (61 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 4,270 cases (+21) (37 deaths)
  • Langlade - 4,435 cases (+55) (52 deaths) (+1)
  • Manitowoc – 15,764 cases (+165) (127 deaths)
  • Marinette - 8,754 cases (+54) (86 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 3,510 cases (+73) (56 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,667 cases (+21) (12 deaths)
  • Oconto – 8,640 cases (+82) (73 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 38,830 cases (+390) (282 deaths)
  • Shawano – 8,962 cases (+85) (102 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 26,764 cases (+244) (196 deaths) (+6)
  • Waupaca – 10,338 cases (+110) (179 deaths) (+5)
  • Waushara – 4,407 cases (+62) (62 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 38,809 (+481) (293 deaths) (+1)

* You can find cases and deaths for all 72 Wisconsin counties on the DHS County Data website. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Hospital Association publishes updates Mondays through Fridays. 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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