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COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Cases are climbing, death toll shy of 11,000

The 7-day average of cases is dropping dramatically because last week’s record-territory case numbers are no longer counted.
Doctors are looking long-term and say vaccination is still the best protection
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 3:09 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 27, 2022 at 5:02 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin will report another grim milestone in the COVID-19 death toll tomorrow. Thursday, the total deaths reached 10,997 after 47 more deaths were reported to the state. The death rate is unchanged for a fourth day at 0.84% of all cases since the start of the pandemic, slowing what had been a sharp and steady decline since the beginning of the year.

Sheboygan County reported the majority of these deaths, submitting 31 death certificates in the past day. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) says only 8 of these COVID-19 deaths occurred in the past 30 days.

Statewide, 24 deaths just reported happened in the past 30 days -- including the 8 in Sheboygan County. That’s what counts in the state’s 7-day average, and the state says that average dropped slightly from 34 to 33 deaths per day.

Cases

The number of new coronavirus cases is creeping back up even as the 7-day average is dropping dramatically. Thursday the 7-day average was down to 7,958 from Wednesday’s 9,012. The rolling average is falling hard because last week’s record-territory case numbers are no longer counted. Outagamie County surpassed 40,000 cases. Marinette County topped 9,000.

The DHS reported 8,084 new cases. Compare that to 7,662 reported yesterday, 5,768 on Tuesday, and 5,042 on Monday. If this trend continues, next week we’ll be reporting the 7-day average for new cases is climbing, and this is why.

But we’ll also prepare you with context: Even as more people are testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, the positivity rate is falling. This indicates more people are getting tested. (It’s just like we’ve written about the hospitalization rate: A smaller percentage still equals a lot of people when it’s a percentage of a high number.) The DHS reports 22.7% of all tests in the past 7 days were positive for the virus, down from 23.9% on Wednesday.

This is the longest streak of days under 10,000 new cases in a month.

Hospitalizations

The DHS reported 156 more hospitalizations in the past 24-hour period. We calculate Wisconsin is averaging 130 hospitalizations per day, helped by the fact the 7-day average no longer includes days last week with 233 to 254 hospital admissions. The hospitalization rate reached a new low of 4.25% of cases filling a hospital bed since the pandemic began.

Taking discharges and deaths into account, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reports a decline in COVID-19 patient numbers continues. Thursday there were 1,774 patients hospitalized, with 362 of them in intensive care. That’s 4 fewer in ICU and 57 fewer overall.

In the Northeast region, there are 194 COVID-19 patients, 3 fewer than Wednesday, with 33 in ICU, an increase of 3. In the Fox Valley region, hospitals have 120 COVID-19 patients, with 19 in ICU, a decrease of 6 people in ICU and 10 fewer hospitalized overall.

As we reported yesterday, the DHS considers the spread of COVID-19 “critically high” in every county for a third straight week. It also reports case numbers are down from two weeks ago in about 50 of the 72 counties while about 20 saw no significant change. Only Crawford County saw case numbers rise over the last two weeks.

In WBAY’s viewing area, Florence, Forest and Waushara counties saw no significant change. Seventeen other counties saw numbers dropping: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac Green Lake, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca and Winnebago.

The DHS says the equivalent of 3.9% of the state’s population tested positive for the COVID-19 virus since January 12, or 3,900.8 cases per 100,000 residents.

Our calculated 7-day average for vaccines administered fell below 10,000 on Thursday for the first time since November. Wisconsin continues nearing 9 million total doses, now at 8,988,616. We could hit the vaccine milestone tomorrow or Saturday. To indicate how much vaccinations have slowed, early last week we were on pace to reach the 9 million mark this past Monday.

The number of unvaccinated people in Wisconsin continues to gradually shrink. Since the last report, 2,171 more people got their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 3,140 more completed their vaccination series -- both are the highest daily figures this week in their respective columns.

The DHS says 59.2% of Wisconsinites have completed their vaccine series, or 3.45 million people, out of 63.2% of the population getting at least one dose. Keep in mind, about 6% of Wisconsinites are children under 5 who can’t get any COVID-19 vaccine.

Thursday’s Vaccinations by Age Group (and change since last report)

  • 5 to 11: 24.7% received vaccine (+0.1)/19.4% completed vaccinations (+0.2)
  • 12 to 17: 59.3% received vaccine (+0.1)/54.5% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 18 to 24: 58.4% received vaccine (+0.1)/52.4% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 25 to 34: 62.7% received vaccine (+0.1)/57.5% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 35 to 44: 68.2% received vaccine (+0.1)/64.1% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 45 to 54: 70.8% received vaccine (+0.0)/67.4% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 55 to 64: 77.6% received vaccine (+0.1)/74.4% completed vaccinations (+0.0)
  • 65 and up: 85.6% received vaccine (+0.0)/82.1% completed vaccinations (+0.1)

Thursday’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)64.6% (+0.1)61.0%
Calumet (50,089) (FV)56.2% (+0.1)53.4% (+0.1)
Dodge (87,839)51.7%48.8%
Door (27,668) (NE)78.0%73.2%
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)54.9%51.7%
Forest (9,004)51.9%48.8% (+0.1)
Florence (4,295) (NE)52.0% (+0.1)49.3%
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)56.9%53.4%
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)52.1% (+0.1)50.0%
Langlade (19,189)53.4%50.7%
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)59.8%56.8% (+0.1)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)52.7%49.8%
Menominee (4,556) (FV)79.5%75.1%
Oconto (37,930) (NE)52.4%49.9%
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)63.4% (+0.1)59.9% (+0.1)
Shawano (40,899) (FV)47.1%44.9%
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)61.9%58.5% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)55.0% (+0.1)52.3% (+0.1)
Waushara (24,443) (FV)45.5%43.1% (+0.1)
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)61.5% (+0.1)57.8% (+0.1)
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)293,855 (61.9%)278,189 (58.6%)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)325,830 (59.3%, +0.1)307,751 (56.0%, +0.1)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,686,273 (63.2%)3,451,491 (59.2%, +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.

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

  • Brown – 66,658 cases (+361) (333 deaths) (+1)
  • Calumet – 10,976 cases (+78) (84 deaths)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 4,589 cases (78 deaths)
  • Dodge – 22,981 cases (+179) (254 deaths)
  • Door – 6,287 cases (+25) (44 deaths)
  • Florence - 754 cases (+13) (15 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 27,810 cases (+195) (191 deaths)
  • Forest - 2,252 cases (+20) (43 deaths)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 2,527 cases (35 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 3,856 cases (+39) (46 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 2,092 cases (61 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 4,390 cases (+21) (38 deaths)
  • Langlade - 4,621 cases (+31) (53 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 16,330 cases (+98) (137 deaths)
  • Marinette - 9,040 cases (+74) (86 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 3,594 cases (59 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,745 cases (+13) (12 deaths)
  • Oconto – 8,944 cases (+67) (76 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 40,210 cases (+273) (287 deaths)
  • Shawano – 9,264 cases (+57) (104 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 27,762 cases (+255) (229 deaths) (+31 -- 8 recent)
  • Waupaca – 10,697 cases (+66) (182 deaths)
  • Waushara – 4,685 cases (+41) (62 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 40,557 (+340) (294 deaths)

* 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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