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COVID-19 death rate up again with 50 deaths; 7-day average of new cases declines

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 2:01 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 3:02 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) – Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death rate continued to edge upwards Wednesday as new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 continued to decline.

The state says the death toll is 5,562 after adding 50 people whose deaths are attributed to COVID-19. The 7-day average climbed to 45 deaths per day and the death rate is up to 1.06% of all known cases, a percentage we haven’t seen since October 2.

The deaths were in Barron, Brown (2), Chippewa (2), Clark, Dane (10), Fond du Lac, Iowa, Juneau, Kenosha (6), La Crosse, Lincoln, Marinette, Milwaukee (4), Monroe, Oneida (4), Ozaukee (2), Polk, Sauk, St. Croix, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha (6) counties.

There were 6,645 results for people being tested or testing positive for the coronavirus for the first time. 23% of these were positive, for 1,522 new cases. That’s below the 7-day average for positivity, which is 26%. The 7-day average for new cases is down to 1,808, the lowest average since September 22.

The DHS also tracks results for people tested multiple times, such as health care workers or patients being treated for COVID-19. By that measure, the positivity rate’s 7-day average continued its downward trend to 7.2% on Tuesday. That DHS calculation is a day behind because it’s based on preliminary numbers, including negative tests undergoing further review. Reporting one test per person, no matter how many times they’re tested, is considered a better indicator of the virus’s spread in the community (it’s how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles its own reports).

New cases were identified in 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. No positive tests were from Forest County, and the number of cases was revised in Richland County.

As always, county cases and deaths will be updated later in this article.

Wisconsin currently has 23,904 active cases (4.5% of all known cases) who were diagnosed or had the onset of symptoms in the last 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. There are almost half a million (496,297) people who’ve recovered (94.4%). The state is closing in on 3 million people tested for the coronavirus (2,976,446) since the first patient was treated on February 5, 2020.

VACCINATIONS

The DHS reports more than 260,000 doses (260,402) of COVID-19 vaccine were administered since December 13 -- that’s 12,217 than the report 24 hours earlier. The data show 45,638 people have received their second and final dose -- 5,508 more since Tuesday’s report. These numbers are preliminary for a few days as vaccinators’ reports continue coming in.

The DHS now includes vaccination information by age and gender (CLICK HERE). The vaccine data page also lets you narrow down vaccinations per day by county or Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) -- use the pulldown menu at the upper right corner of the graph at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm#day.

Even before recommendations for the next phase of vaccinations are finalized, the state announced it’s opening up COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 65 or older starting Monday, Jan. 25, as the vaccine supply allows (see related story). Although residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities were part of the first phase (phase 1a), state data show this is still an under-served age group, with 3.5% of senior adults (30,975 people) getting at least one vaccine dose so far. Only teens and young adults age 16-24 received fewer doses (13,771 people).

A DHS advisory committee may take up recommendations for phase 1b when it meets Thursday morning. As we’ve reported, recommendations include older citizens, public-facing essential workers (e.g., teachers, child care workers), congregate living facilities (e.g., prisons, jails, mental health facilities, homeless shelters) and mink farms. There was an effort during the public comment period to include agriculture and grocery industries in phase 1B. The state also received a number of letters opposing vaccines for prisoners and mink farm workers at this early phase.

Hospitalizations

The DHS reported 119 hospitalizations for COVID-19 symptoms in the past 24 hours. A total 23,363 people have been hospitalized at some point in the past year for COVID-19, or 4.44% of all cases.

Taking deaths, discharges and new admissions into account, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) said Wednesday there were 31 fewer COVID-19 patients hospitalized compared to 24 hours earlier. The WHA reported 834 patients, including 193 in intensive care.

That’s 7 days in a row with fewer than 1,000 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 at one time. It’s the first time we’ve had fewer than 200 COVID-19 patients in ICU since October 4 -- that’s 108 days.

The Fox Valley region’s 13 hospitals are treating 63 COVID-19 patients, with 8 of them in ICU. That’s 11 fewer patients overall Tuesday.

The Northeast region’s 10 hospitals were treating 98 COVID-19 patients, with 21 in ICU. That’s 3 fewer patients in ICU, and 2 fewer patients than Tuesday overall.

Hospital Readiness

The WHA also reported the state’s 134 hospitals have 224 ICU beds (15.3%) and 1,977 of all types of medical beds (17.7%) open -- that’s ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation.

The Fox Valley region’s 13 hospitals had 8 ICU beds (7.7%) among them and 108 medical beds total (12.7%) open for the eight counties they serve.

The Northeast region’s 10 hospitals had 27 ICU beds (13%) and 207 of all medical beds (21.7%) for patients in seven counties.

These beds are for all patients, not just COVID-19. We use the term “open” instead of “available” because whether a bed can be filled depends on whether the hospital has the staff necessary for a patient, including doctors, nurses and food services.

WEDNESDAY’S COUNTY NUMBERS (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold) *

Wisconsin

  • Adams – 1,443 cases (+10) (11 deaths)
  • Ashland – 1,101 cases (+2) (16 deaths)
  • Barron – 4,929 cases (+16) (66 deaths) (+1)
  • Bayfield - 1,005 cases (+3) (18 deaths)
  • Brown – 28,481 cases (+63) (180 deaths) (+2)
  • Buffalo – 1,199 cases (+8) (7 deaths)
  • Burnett – 1,067 cases (+3) (23 deaths)
  • Calumet – 5,061 cases (+12) (39 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 6,560 cases (+17) (74 deaths) (+2)
  • Clark – 3,018 cases (+14) (55 deaths) (+1)
  • Columbia – 4,664 cases (+19) (38 deaths)
  • Crawford – 1,621 cases (+3) (14 deaths)
  • Dane – 36,589 cases (+26) (228 deaths) (+10)
  • Dodge – 10,951 cases (+8) (133 deaths)
  • Door – 2,303 cases (+17) (16 deaths)
  • Douglas – 3,443 cases (+8) (18 deaths)
  • Dunn – 3,876 cases (+12) (25 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 10,177 cases (+44) (92 deaths)
  • Florence - 417 cases (+1) (12 deaths)
  • Fond du Lac – 11,297 cases (+31) (74 deaths) (+1)
  • Forest - 894 cases (22 deaths)
  • Grant – 4,364 cases (+14) (78 deaths)
  • Green – 2,569 cases (+14) (11 deaths)
  • Green Lake - 1,454 cases (+6) (14 deaths)
  • Iowa - 1,768 cases (+6) (9 deaths) (+1)
  • Iron - 451 cases (+3) (19 deaths)
  • Jackson - 2,507 cases (+7) (20 deaths)
  • Jefferson – 7,307 cases (+20) (64 deaths)
  • Juneau - 2,805 cases (+3) (15 deaths) (+1)
  • Kenosha – 13,820 cases (+50) (256 deaths) (+6)
  • Kewaunee – 2,264 cases (+5) (26 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 11,163 cases (+61) (68 deaths) (+1)
  • Lafayette - 1,333 cases (+3) (7 deaths)
  • Langlade - 1,873 cases (+1) (30 deaths)
  • Lincoln – 2,723 cases (+7) (52 deaths) (+1)
  • Manitowoc – 6,726 cases (+9) (57 deaths)
  • Marathon – 12,970 cases (+22) (167 deaths)
  • Marinette - 3,815 cases (+10) (56 deaths) (+1)
  • Marquette – 1,232 cases (+8) (20 deaths)
  • Menominee - 774 cases (+2) (11 deaths)
  • Milwaukee – 92,249 (+395) (1,106 deaths) (+4)
  • Monroe – 3,882 cases (+15) (28 deaths) (+1)
  • Oconto – 4,070 cases (+5) (44 deaths)
  • Oneida - 3,038 cases (+7) (53 deaths) (+4)
  • Outagamie – 17,789 cases (+31) (170 deaths)
  • Ozaukee – 7,093 cases (+3) (65 deaths) (+2)
  • Pepin – 758 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Pierce – 3,204 cases (+6) (32 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,426 cases (+12) (37 deaths) (+1)
  • Portage – 5,968 cases (+21) (57 deaths)
  • Price – 1,035 cases (+10) (7 deaths)
  • Racine – 19,244 cases (+42) (280 deaths)
  • Richland - 1,185 cases (13 deaths) (cases revised -2 by state)
  • Rock – 13,335 cases (+34) (131 deaths)
  • Rusk - 1,202 cases (+5) (14 deaths)
  • Sauk – 4,898 cases (+12) (35 deaths) (+1)
  • Sawyer - 1,349 cases (+8) (17 deaths)
  • Shawano – 4,421 cases (+9) (64 deaths)
  • Sheboygan – 12,233 cases (+41) (109 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 5,903 cases (+20) (36 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor - 1,714 cases (+4) (19 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,215 cases (+9) (33 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,677 cases (+7) (32 deaths)
  • Vilas - 1,818 cases (+3) (31 deaths)
  • Walworth – 8,369 cases (+13) (114 deaths) (+1)
  • Washburn – 1,167 cases (+8) (15 deaths)
  • Washington – 12,912 cases (+37) (111 deaths) (+1)
  • Waukesha – 37,990 cases (+98) (405 deaths) (+6)
  • Waupaca – 4,458 cases (+11) (103 deaths)
  • Waushara – 2,009 cases (+1) (24 deaths)
  • Winnebago – 16,144 cases (+30) (166 deaths)
  • Wood – 6,155 cases (+29) (63 deaths)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula **

  • Alger - 249 cases (+13) (1 death)
  • Baraga - 482 cases (+1) (29 deaths)
  • Chippewa - 673 cases (+2) (16 deaths)
  • Delta – 2,587 cases (+7) (61 deaths)
  • Dickinson - 2,076 cases (+4) (56 deaths)
  • Gogebic - 792 cases (+4) (15 deaths) (deaths revised -1 by state)
  • Houghton – 1,895 cases (+11) (27 deaths)
  • Iron – 836 cases (+7) (32 deaths)
  • Keweenaw – 97 cases (1 death)
  • Luce – 129 cases
  • Mackinac - 272 cases (+1) (3 deaths)
  • Marquette - 3,356 cases (+14) (53 deaths)
  • Menominee - 1,562 cases (+5) (34 deaths)
  • Ontonagon – 297 cases (+5) (16 deaths) (+1)
  • Schoolcraft - 225 cases (4 deaths)

* Cases and deaths are from the daily DHS COVID-19 reports, which may differ from local health department numbers. The 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.

The DHS reports deaths attributed to COVID-19 or in which COVID-19 contributed to their death. Most of the people severely affected by the coronavirus have underlying illnesses or conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity, which raises a person’s risk of dying from COVID-19. They would’ve lived longer if not for their infection. The state may revise case and death numbers after further review, such as the victim’s residence, duplicated records, or a correction in lab results. Details can be found on the DHS website and Frequently Asked Questions.

**The state of Michigan does not update numbers on Sundays. Monday’s numbers include updates since Saturday’s reporting deadline.

COVID-19 Tracing App

Wisconsin’s COVID-19 tracing app, “Wisconsin Exposure Notification,” is available for iOS and Android smartphones. No download is required for iPhones. The Android app is available on Google Play. When two phones with the app (and presumably their owners) are close enough, for long enough, they’ll anonymously share a random string of numbers via Bluetooth. If someone tests positive for the coronavirus, they’ll receive a code to type into the app. If your phones “pinged” each other in the last 14 days, you’ll receive a push notification that you are at risk of exposure. The app doesn’t collect personal information or location information, so you won’t know from whom or where, but you will be told what day the exposure might have occurred so that you can quarantine for the appropriate amount of time.

Symptoms

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified these as possible symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Prevention

  • The coronavirus is a new, or “novel,” virus. Nobody has a natural immunity to it.
  • Children and teens seem to recover best from the virus. Older people and those with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, lung disease) are considered at high risk, according to the CDC. Precautions are also needed around people with developing or weakened immune systems.
  • To help prevent the spread of the virus:
  • Stay at least six feet away from other people
  • Avoid close contact with people who are or appear sick
  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates and nonessential appointments

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