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COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Case numbers were similar for vaccinated, unvaccinated in March

The difference was in hospitalizations and deaths among the infected
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 2:49 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin passed 1.4 million people infected with the COVID-19 virus since the start of the pandemic (1,400,720). The Department of Health Services says the latest test results confirmed 814 new cases, the most since February 22.

The omicron variant remains the dominant version of the COVID-19 virus. As we’ve reported, it’s generally milder than other variants but highly contagious. Finally, the DHS has worked through data issues for the past few months and released comparisons of vaccinated and unvaccinated cases, and the side-by-side comparison of cases last month is nearly the same.

Comparisons of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and...
Comparisons of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in March 2022(Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

The DHS says there were 195.9 cases for every 100,000 people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared to 205.5 cases per 100,000 who were unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated (that is, people less than 2 weeks after their final inoculation). Fully vaccinated people make up the majority of Wisconsin’s population (60.9%). Against the omicron variant that was only a 1.1 times greater chance of testing positive for COVID-19 if you weren’t fully vaccinated (or vaccinated at all).

The difference is in how severe the cases were. People who were not fully vaccinated were 2.4 times more likely to be hospitalized for treatment and 3.4 times more likely to die from that “generally mild” variant.

Put another way, 2.76% of fully vaccinated people who were infected with the virus were hospitalized and 1.02% died from it. Among the rest who had COVID-19, 6.37% were hospitalized by their infection and 3.11% died. (Over the 26 months of the pandemic, the death rate is 0.92% of all cases.)

The DHS never released side-by-side comparison graphics for the omicron surge in January or February -- there were over 342,000 cases in January, so we probably would’ve broken our thumb scrolling through the image -- but we do have some numbers to share. The omicron virus took a much heavier toll on the unvaccinated and not-fully vaccinated in January and February compared to March:

January 2022

For every 100,000 vaccinated there were:

  • 5,229.8 cases
  • 52.8 hospitalizations (1.01% of infections)
  • 9.6 deaths (0.18% of infections)

For every 100,000 unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated there were:

  • 6,726.1 cases
  • 178.6 hospitalizations (2.66% of infections)
  • 70.6 deaths (1.05% of infections)

February 2022

For every 100,000 vaccinated there were:

  • 670.9 cases
  • 15.5 hospitalizations (2.31% of infections)
  • 4.7 deaths (0.70% of infections)

For every 100,000 unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated there were:

  • 857.3 cases
  • 43.7 hospitalizations (5.10% of infections)
  • 25.8 deaths (3.01% of infections)

As we reported Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services says COVID-19 virus activity is back on the upswing. The DHS says cases increased in about a third of the state’s 72 counties while two-thirds showed no significant change over the past two weeks. No county saw case numbers shrink. One county was labeled with “Very High” virus activity, Buffalo County. Virus activity is moderate in 61 counties compared to 56 a week ago and it’s high in 10 counties. In WBAY’s viewing area:

Moderate: Florence, Langlade, Menominee, Shawano

High: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago

As we wrote at the beginning of the article, the state identified 814 new COVID-19 cases since Wednesday’s report. In Northeast Wisconsin, 9 of the 20 counties we’re tracking reported no new cases (numbers were revised in Langlade and Shawano counties), 7 counties reported single-digit case numbers, and 4 counties had new cases in the double digits.

The positivity rate is over 5% (5.1%) for the first time since February 24. This is the percentage of tests in the past 7 days that were positive for the coronavirus.

Only three deaths were reported to the state. Two of them were in WBAY’s greater viewing area, in Dodge and Langlade counties. The DHS says all three happened in the past 30 days. It keeps the daily average at 3 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past week.

Twenty-one people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the last 24-hour period, which is a hair above our calculated 7-day average of 18 hospital admissions per day. Even that low number wasn’t offset by hospital discharges and deaths. The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reports 148 COVID-19 patients, with 33 of them in ICU. That’s 6 more in intensive care and 7 more patients overall. Wednesday, hospitalizations hit their lowest point since July 19.

In the Northeast health care region, there are 16 COVID-19 patients, the same as Wednesday, with 4 in ICU, which is up by 1. Hospitals in the Fox Valley region are treating 4 COVID-19 patients, 1 more than the day before, but none is in ICU.

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

  • 5 to 11: 27.4% (+0.1) received vaccine/24.5% (+0.1) completed vaccinations
  • 12 to 17: 61.4% received vaccine/57.9% completed vaccinations
  • 18 to 24: 60.1% received vaccine/54.6% completed vaccinations
  • 25 to 34: 64.2% (+0.1) received vaccine/59.6% completed vaccinations
  • 35 to 44: 69.2% received vaccine/65.8% completed vaccinations
  • 45 to 54: 71.6% received vaccine/68.8% completed vaccinations
  • 55 to 64: 78.1% received vaccine/75.5% completed vaccinations
  • 65 and up: 85.5% (+0.1) received vaccine/82.4% completed vaccinations

Thursday’s Vaccinations by County Population

County (Population)
(Health region)
% of population
with at least 1 dose
% of population
completed series
Brown (264,542) (NE)65.7%63.0%
Calumet (50,089) (FV)56.9%54.8%
Dodge (87,839)52.6%50.3%
Door (27,668) (NE)78.6%74.5%
Florence (4,295) (NE)52.8% (+0.1)50.1% (+0.1)
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)55.8%53.3%
Forest (9,004)52.7% (+0.1)50.2%
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)57.3%54.6%
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)52.7%51.1%
Langlade (19,189)53.9%51.8%
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)60.5%58.3%
Marinette (40,350) (NE)53.5% (+0.1)51.1% (+0.1)
Menominee (4,556) (FV)80.5%76.8%
Oconto (37,930) (NE)52.9%51.1%
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)64.3%61.6%
Shawano (40,899) (FV)47.9%46.3%
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)63.0% (+0.1)60.4%
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)55.5%53.6%
Waushara (24,443) (FV)46.1%44.1%
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)62.3%59.4%
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)298,256 (62.8%)286,199 (60.3%)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)330,264 (60.1%)316,350 (57.5%)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,745,421 (64.2%)3,553,680 (60.9%)

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

THURSDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (boldface indicates increase since last report)

Note: Michigan now only updates county case and death totals on Wednesdays

  • Brown – 70,200 cases (+20) (423 deaths)
  • Calumet – 11,537 cases (+3) (99 deaths)
  • Dickinson (Mich.) - 4,987 cases (86 deaths)
  • Dodge – 24,514 cases (+6) (294 deaths) (+1)
  • Door – 6,595 cases (+3) (61 deaths)
  • Florence - 813 cases (16 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 29,481 cases (+14) (253 deaths)
  • Forest - 2,431 cases (48 deaths)
  • Gogebic (Mich.) - 2,734 cases (40 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 4,222 cases (+6) (54 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.) - 2,311 cases (71 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 4,556 cases (42 deaths)
  • Langlade - 4,876 cases (cases revised -1 by state) (73 deaths) (+1)
  • Manitowoc – 17,305 cases (+4) (158 deaths)
  • Marinette - 9,679 cases (104 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,846 (14 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.) - 3,945 cases (60 deaths)
  • Oconto – 9,326 cases (96 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 42,485 cases (+16) (355 deaths)
  • Shawano – 9,748 cases (cases revised -1 by state) (127 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 29,424 cases (+5) (266 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 11,333 cases (194 deaths)
  • Waushara – 4,995 cases (+2) (70 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 44,002 cases (+32) (332 deaths)

You can find cases and deaths for all 72 Wisconsin counties on the DHS County Data website and for Michigan counties on the Michigan Department of Health COVID-19 website. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Wisconsin Hospital Association publish 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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