Compiled for the Covid Task Force each week. Updated 1 March 2021
In the past week in Wisconsin the number of new COVID cases has stopped falling, reflecting a pattern seen across the country. The number of new cases is still large, and should not be considered to be "stable", or under control. The reason or reasons for leveling off instead of continuing to decline are unknown. Possibilities include premature relaxation of rules and avoidance of contact, or the effect of the new variants, or changes in testing volume. Hospitalizations have continued to fall, but this measure typically lags changes in cases. Numbers are taken from websites for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Hospital Association, the CDC, and The New York Times.
Wisconsin's 7 day average of new cases has decreased over the past 2 weeks from 782 to 626, a 20% decrease, but all of that decrease occurred in the first of the two weeks. The number of new cases has been level in the Northeast, North Central and Fox Valley regions in the past week.
The 7 day average of percent positive tests by total tests has decreased to 2.2%.
Wisconsin hospitalizations for COVID have decreased over the past two weeks, 399 inpatients on 2/14/21 and 290 on 2/28, a 27% decrease. In the North Central region hospitalizations have been falling but in the Fox Valley and Northeast regions the count was level in the past week. 73 of the state hospitalized patients are in the ICU, a slight decrease from last week.
The 7 day average of daily deaths due to COVID has been level at 18.
For comparison with other states and countries, the new case number is converted to cases per million. Comparing 7 day average number of new cases in the past week:
United States: 208
In the past week the case rate has been level or slightly higher in all of the states listed above, and in the United States as a whole.
More infectious variants, especially the B.1.1.7 variant (dominant in England) have continued to increase in the United States. 6 cases have been identified in Wisconsin (out of 6823 samples tested). Michigan appears to be a hot spot for the B.1.1.7 variant. The B.1.351 variant (dominant in South Africa) and the P.1 Brazilian variant have also been found in the United States but not in Wisconsin. Lowering the rate of overall new cases in the United States will slow the spread of these variants. The cases of these variants represent only a limited sample of testing; there is no way to specifically identify and isolate these cases at the time of infection.
As of February 27, 16% of the Wisconsin population has received at least one dose of vaccine (8.6% have received their second dose). These numbers are just slightly above the average for the country. The current pace of immunizations is primarily limited by the production rate of vaccines; the system of delivering and administering the vaccine is now only temporarily limiting shots at times (bad weather etc.). The addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will help supply in the coming week.
New cases in Wisconsin are about 75 total cases per 100,000 per week which puts the state in the CDC "Substantial Transmission - Orange" category. Our region of Wisconsin is about the same.