COVID-19 in Wisconsin: Virus spread “critically high” in all 72 counties; hospitalizations set new record – WBAY

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Hospitalizations set a new record Wednesday as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’s weekly update on the spread of the coronavirus labeled every county “critically high.” There are no counties where the spread is labeled low, moderate, high, or very high. Statewide, there is a record high burden rate of 2,490.9 cases for every 100,000 residents, meaning over the past two weeks almost 2 ½ percent of Wisconsinites tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19.

Over the past two weeks, case numbers grew in 66 of the state’s 72 counties. Three counties showed no significant change — Florence, Menominee and Pepin. Three counties saw case numbers shrink, though still exceeding very high levels — Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Washington.

The DHS says 10,277 tests came back positive since Tuesday’s report. More than 1.1 million people in Wisconsin (1,103,372) have tested positive for the coronavirus in a little under 2 years. That’s equivalent to almost 1 in 5 Wisconsinites (19%) since February 5, 2020. Outagamie County surpassed 35,000 cases. Winnebago County crossed over 34,000. Marinette County topped 8,000.

The 7-day average for COVID-19 cases edged off a little bit from its all-time high of 9,696 cases per day. Wednesday it slipped to 9,675 cases per day. The 7-day average positivity rate — the percentage of all tests coming back positive — also slipped from 28.2% to 27.6% on Wednesday.

The state received 25 more death certificates where COVID-19 was the cause of death or a major contributing factor, bringing the death toll to 10,407. As we’ve said before, deaths aren’t keeping up with the surge in cases, and the COVID-19 death rate fell to 0.94% of all cases, almost a tenth of a percent in two weeks. Only one county in WBAY’s viewing area in Wisconsin reported a death: Forest County. Across the state line, Dickinson and Iron counties each reported one death.

The hospitalization rate fell four-tenths of a percent over the same period, from 5.21% to 4.82% Wednesday. But also we’ve written before, even a smaller percentage is still a lot of people when the number of cases is at record highs.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported 2,278 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment, passing the record of 2,277 COVID-19 patients at one time set on November 17, 2020. Of these 2,278 patients, 488 are in intensive care, which is also a new high. That’s a net increase of 2 patients in ICU and 34 more patients overall since Tuesday.

DHS figures show 209 more people were hospitalized in the last 24-hour period, but WHA patient populations take daily discharges and deaths into account. We calculate an average 175 people were admitted to COVID-19 every day over the last week.

In the Northeast region, there are 198 patients, with 45 in ICU — 2 fewer in intensive care but 3 more overall than the day before. The Fox Valley region has 151 COVID-19 patients, with 28 in ICU — 1 more in ICU but 1 fewer patient overall.

The 13 Fox Valley hospitals collectively report 1 ICU bed, no intermediate care beds, 2 medical surgical beds, and 6 negative flow isolation beds available Wednesday. The 10 Northeast hospitals reported 5 ICU beds, no intermediate care beds, 12 medical surgical and 42 negative flow isolation beds. These hospital beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19 care.

To ease strain on the medical field, DHS recommends asking your primary doctor or visiting a community testing site to get tested for COVID-19. This is for people who have symptoms or believe they’ve been exposed.

People who remain unvaccinated are a shrinking minority in the state.

Vaccinators report 4,312 more people received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine since Tuesday’s report, and 3,538 people completed their vaccination series (there is some overlap in those two figures for people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

The DHS says 62.6% of the population received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including 22.7% of children age 5 to 11 who became eligible about two months ago. Further, 58.6% of Wisconsinites have received at least two doses of vaccine.

Vaccinators report giving nearly 8.8 million doses of vaccine (8,799,183) over the past 13 months, including more than 1.7 million booster shots (1,733,763).

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

  • 5 to 11: 22.7% received vaccine (+0.2)/17.2% completed vaccinations (+0.2)
  • 12 to 17: 58.1% received vaccine (+0.1)/53.3% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 18 to 24: 57.5% received vaccine (+0.0)/51.8% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 25 to 34: 61.9% received vaccine (+0.1)/56.9% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 35 to 44: 67.6% received vaccine (+0.0)/63.6% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 45 to 54: 70.4% received vaccine (+0.0)/66.9% completed vaccinations (+0.0)
  • 55 to 64: 77.2% received vaccine (+0.0)/74.1% completed vaccinations (+0.1)
  • 65 and up: 85.5% received vaccine (+0.0)/81.9% completed vaccinations (+0.0)

WEDNESDAY’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) 63.9% 60.4% (+0.1)
Calumet (50,089) (FV) 55.7% (+0.1) 52.8%
Dodge (87,839) 51.2% (+0.1) 48.2%
Door (27,668) (NE) 77.5% 72.7%
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE) 54.4% (+0.1) 51.2%
Forest (9,004) 51.4% (+0.1) 48.4% (+0.1)
Florence (4,295) (NE) 51.5% 48.9%
Green Lake (18,913) (FV) 56.5% (+0.1) 52.7%
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE) 51.8% (+0.1) 49.6%
Langlade (19,189) 53.0% 50.3%
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE) 59.2% 56.1%
Marinette (40,350) (NE) 52.2% 49.4%
Menominee (4,556) (FV) 78.6% 74.4% (+0.1)
Oconto (37,930) (NE) 52.0% 49.4%
Outagamie (187,885) (FV) 62.8% 59.3% (+0.1)
Shawano (40,899) (FV) 46.7% 44.5% (+0.1)
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE) 61.3% (+0.1) 57.9% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV) 54.5% 51.6%
Waushara (24,443) (FV) 45.1% (+0.1) 42.6%
Winnebago (171,907) (FV) 61.0% (+0.1) 57.2%
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE) 291,246 (61.4%, +0.1) 275,302 (58.0%)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV) 323,105 (58.8%, +0.1) 304,589 (55.4%, +0.1)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434) 3,651,690 (62.6%, +0.1) 3,416,838 (58.6%, +0.1)

To find free COVID-19 vaccination sites near you, text your ZIP Code to 438829.

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

  • Brown – 56,033 cases (+486) (313 deaths)
  • Calumet – 9,699 cases (+91) (82 deaths)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* – 3,895 cases (+99) (77 deaths) (+1)
  • Dodge – 19,838 cases (+305) (245 deaths)
  • Door – 5,288 cases (+55) (43 deaths)
  • Florence – 657 cases (+2) (15 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 23,555 cases (+217) (189 deaths)
  • Forest – 1,917 cases (+32) (41 deaths) (+1)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* – 2,133 cases (+70) (34 deaths)
  • Green Lake – 3,373 cases (+40) (41 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 1,836 cases (+36) (61 deaths) (+1)
  • Kewaunee – 3,866 cases (+55) (37 deaths)
  • Langlade – 3,949 cases (+37) (50 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 14,303 cases (+288) (124 deaths)
  • Marinette – 8,048 cases (+70) (86 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* – 3,269 cases (+32) (56 deaths)
  • Menominee – 1,283 cases (+37) (12 deaths)
  • Oconto – 7,883 cases (+101) (73 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 35,092 cases (+697) (278 deaths)
  • Shawano – 7,933 cases (+46) (101 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 23,736 cases (+236) (187 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 9,381 cases (+121) (171 deaths)
  • Waushara – 3,921 cases (+38) (61 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 34,327 cases (+581) (284 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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