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COVID-19 in Wisconsin: More than 3,000 new cases for a 2nd day

COVID-19 deaths were again in the double digits
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 2:38 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 3:42 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - More than half of the state’s hospitals (53.6%) report their intensive care units are at peak capacity. Wisconsin’s hospitals report 90.6% of their beds are in use, including 93.3% of ICU beds.

This, as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) confirmed more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row. Thursday, it reported 3,436 positive tests in the latest round of testing. Wisconsin is now averaging 2,110 new cases per day, putting that 7-day average over 2,000 for the first time since mid-January when the winter surge was on the decline. The positivity rate -- the average of all tests coming back positive -- jumped a percentage point from 7.0% to 8.0% in the past day, erasing a week of decline. At this rate, Wisconsin is days from reaching the milestone of 700,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic; we’re less than 10,000 away at 690,537.

More than 7,800 people have died from COVID-19 (7,806). Deaths were in the double digits Thursday, as they have been all week, with 15 deaths that happened in the past month just reported to the state. Dodge and Winnebago counties each reported 2 more deaths, and Calumet and Waupaca counties each reported 1. Wisconsin averaged 13 deaths a day over the past 7 days. See the list of county case and death totals at the end of the article.

State numbers show 119 more COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the last 24-hour period. That’s a bit more in line with our calculated 7-day average of 110 admissions per day. To date, 37,419 people diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus were hospitalized, or 5.45%. The latest Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) report finds 1,066 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Thursday, with 322 in intensive care. The 10 hospitals in the 7-county Northeast region have 125 patients, including 31 in ICU -- 2 more in intensive care and 9 more overall since Wednesday. The 13 hospitals in the 8-county Fox Valley region are treating 91 84 COVID-19 patients, with 16 in ICU -- 2 more in ICU and 7 more patients overall.

The DHS website cautions that it might be under-reporting data on cases, deaths, and hospitalizations. It says a system performance issue is causing a lag in processing the data. The issue is being worked on.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus is very high in 64 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, including 17 of the 19 counties we’re tracking in Northeast Wisconsin. Virus activity is critically high in Forest County and high in Menominee County.

Over the past week, Brown, Forest, Shawano, Sheboygan, Waupaca, Winnebago saw a growing number of daily cases; Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Waushara saw no significant change in the number of daily cases over the past week; Florence County saw a shrinking number of daily cases.

The DHS reports 52.7% of Wisconsinites have completed their vaccination series, out of 56.0% of the population that’s at least started getting vaccinated. That’s 3,066,412 people completing their shots, out of 3,257,828 who had at least one shot.

The 25-34 age group is the latest to cross the 50% threshold getting fully vaccinated.

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

  • 12-15: 44.8% received vaccine (+0.1)/39.0% fully vaccinated (+0.2)
  • 16-17: 50.6% received vaccine (+0.1)/45.7% fully vaccinated (+0.2)
  • 18-24: 50.5% received vaccine (+0.1)/45.3% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 25-34: 54.8% received vaccine (+0.2)/50.0% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 35-44: 62.5% received vaccine (+0.2)/58.1% fully vaccinated (+0.2)
  • 45-54: 63.9% received vaccine (+0.1)/60.2% fully vaccinated (+0.2)
  • 55-64: 72.9% received vaccine (+0.1)/69.9% fully vaccinated (+0.1)
  • 65 and up: 85.2% received vaccine (+0.1)/83.2% fully vaccinated (+0.1)

Nearly 6 in 10 girls and women have received at least one vaccine dose, and 55.8% have finished -- including 2 out of 3 women ages 18 and up (66.7%). Boys and men lag behind with 52.3% of their population in Wisconsin getting at least one dose; almost 50% of males have finished, including nearly 6 in 10 men 18 and up.

VACCINATIONS BY COUNTY POPULATION (THURSDAY)

County (Population) (Health region)% of population (change from previous report)Completed % of population (change from previous report)
Brown (264,542) (NE)56.7% (+0.1)53.5% (+0.1)
Calumet (50,089) (FV)50.7% (+0.0)48.1% (+0.1)
Dodge (87,839)45.7% (+0.1)42.9% (+0.2)
Door (27,668) (NE)71.0% (+0.2)67.9% (+0.1)
Fond du Lac (103,403) (SE)48.8% (+0.1)45.8% (+0.1)
Forest (9,004)45.9% (+0.1)43.3% (+0.0)
Florence (4,295) (NE)46.4% (+0.0)44.7% (+0.0)
Green Lake (18,913) (FV)50.3% (+0.3)47.0% (+0.2)
Kewaunee (20,434) (NE)46.0% (+0.1)43.6% (+0.1)
Manitowoc (78,981) (NE)53.2% (+0.1)50.3% (+0.1)
Marinette (40,350) (NE)46.6% (+0.1)43.8% (+0.1)
Menominee (4,556) (FV)66.3% (+0.3)59.7% (+0.6)
Oconto (37,930) (NE)47.4% (+0.2)44.8% (+0.1)
Outagamie (187,885) (FV)56.3% (+0.0)53.2% (+0.1)
Shawano (40,899) (FV)42.0% (+0.1)39.3% (+0.1)
Sheboygan (115,340) (SE)54.5% (+0.1)51.7% (+0.1)
Waupaca (50,990) (FV)49.0% (+0.1)46.0% (+0.1)
Waushara (24,443) (FV)40.0% (+0.1)37.8% (+0.0)
Winnebago (171,907) (FV)54.1% (+0.1)51.0% (+0.1)
NORTHEAST REGION (474,200) (NE)259,763 (54.8%) (+0.1)245,567 (51.8) (+0.1)
FOX VALLEY REGION (549,682) (FV)288,758 (52.5%) (+0.1)272,189 (49.5%) (+0.1)
WISCONSIN (5,822,434)3,257,828 (56.0%) (+0.1)3,066,412 (52.7%) (+0.1)

Why are hospitals in this situation after 9 months of vaccinations? Because of the delta variant, as the original COVID-19 virus mutated. We’ve reported before that it’s more contagious and creates a higher viral load in the infected. The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, which tests random samples from cases around the state, says delta has been the dominant COVID-19 variant for 11 weeks now. It made up 63.46% of samples from the week of June 21 and now 100% of samples tested from the past 3 weeks. On top of that, people aren’t masking up, social distancing, or self-isolating like they did during the spring and summer of 2020, giving the contagious variant more opportunity to spread. Even the vaccinated can be carriers of the virus, they’re just less affected by it.

As we reported yesterday, 0.361% of people who were fully vaccinated tested positive for COVID-19 in August, and 3.19% of those who were infected needed hospitalization; the rest had mild cases or were asymptomatic. By comparison, 1.41% of the population that’s not fully vaccinated was infected last month, and almost 6.97% of those infected required hospital treatment. The unvaccinated or those who hadn’t completed their vaccine series (the state doesn’t separate those two groups in its data) were 9 times more likely to occupy a hospital bed and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 in August. For those who like to do a lot of scrolling, we’ve included the DHS’s side-by-side graphical comparison of the fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated:

A graphical representation of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated...
A graphical representation of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the vaccinated and others in Wisconsin in August, 2021.(Wisconsin Department of Health Services)

On top of encouraging people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, health officials are also urging people to get vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible, so that overwhelmed hospitals don’t have to deal with flu cases in addition to the COVID-19 cases. The flu season was almost non-existent last year when more people were self-isolating or social distancing, masking, and following other mitigation protocols against COVID-19 -- the same protocols that slow the spread of the flu virus.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics

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.

COVID-19 testing sites

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 www.winnebagopublichealth.org. 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.

ThedaCare also announced its mobile COVID-19 testing schedule in the Fox Valley this week. Appointments are required through doineedacovid19test.com. You do not have to be a ThedaCare patient. All of the sites offer rapid testing, with results usually back in 15 minutes, and PCR testing, which most results in 24 to 48 hours.

  • Thursday, Sept. 16, 8 A.M.-5 P.M.: Christ the Rock Community Church, W6254 US-10, Menasha (rapid testing offered until 4:30 P.M.)
  • Friday, Sept. 17, 8 A.M.-5 P.M.: Guardian building, 2300 E. Capitol Dr., Appleton (rapid testing offered until 4:30 P.M.)

WEDNESDAY’S COUNTY CASE AND DEATH TOTALS (increase since the last report is in bold)**

  • Brown – 35,230 cases (+170) (264 deaths)
  • Calumet – 6,404 cases (+27) (53 deaths) (+1)
  • Dickinson (Mich.)* - 2,557 cases (60 deaths)
  • Dodge – 13,181 cases (+58) (187 deaths) (+2)
  • Door – 2,955 cases (+38) (31 deaths)
  • Florence - 474 cases (+2) (13 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 14,165 cases (+91) (138 deaths)
  • Forest - 1,170 cases (+6) (25 deaths)
  • Gogebic (Mich.)* - 1,205 cases (24 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,918 cases (+14) (24 deaths)
  • Iron (Mich.)* – 1,119 cases (43 deaths)
  • Kewaunee – 2,575 cases (+12) (30 deaths)
  • Langlade - 2,345 cases (+19) (36 deaths)
  • Manitowoc – 8,425 cases (+25) (78 deaths)
  • Marinette - 4,630 cases (+30) (69 deaths)
  • Menominee (Mich.)* - 2,035 cases (43 deaths)
  • Menominee – 861 cases (+4) (11 deaths)
  • Oconto – 5,075 cases (+19) (65 deaths)
  • Outagamie – 22,687 cases (+86) (231 deaths)
  • Shawano – 5,235 cases (+25) (74 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 15,210 cases (+40) (155 deaths)
  • Waupaca – 5,540 cases (+30) (133 deaths) (+1)
  • Waushara – 2,449 cases (+12) (39 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 20,527 cases (+150) (214 deaths) (+2)

* 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. Due to the Labor Day holiday, Michigan’s numbers were not updated today.

** 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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