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Wisconsin Health Officials Urge Vaccinations & Mask Use as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Wisconsin DHS

Daily COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin have doubled in the last two week and is more than 11 times what were we were seeing a month ago.

Thursday, The Department of Health Services reported more than 1,400 new cases.

Governor Evers joined the DHS media briefing for the first time in months to urge people to get vaccinated.

“This delta variant is no joke. It is highly infectious and is spreading more quickly than any other strain of the virus,” said Evers. “We are no longer in the fight against COVID-19. This is now a fight against the Delta variant and all the potential variants that could follow it. Wisconsin there is great news and that is that we have the answer. The answer is simple: get vaccinated.”

While cases are surging, deaths from COVID have remained fairly steady.

DHS is reporting four new deaths today.

The state has been averaging one to two deaths per day since early June.

DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk credits the high vaccination rates among those who are most vulnerable to the virus in preventing deaths.

But she says death is not the only consequence they’re concerned about.

“We are deeply concerned about younger people who get this disease who have symptoms of what is called long covid that we don’t know how long they will live with, that can deeply impact quality of their lives,” said Van Dijk. “While younger people may be less likely to die, getting COVID is still a very serious event for them.”

With that concern for children, the state is recommending schools follow DHS and CDC guidelines and require masks in schools.

Dr. Ryan Westergaard is the state’s Chief Medical Officer. He’s concerned about COVID infections among children as the state is already experiencing a surge in non-covid respiratory infections in children.  

“It actually adds some urgency to the precautions we must take to prevent transmission from reaching our schools and other settings where our young people. Because our hospital resources to take care of critically ill are finite,” said Westergaard.

Three people under the age of 19 have died from COVID in Wisconsin.

There is currently no vaccine available to those under 12.

The entire state is seeing increased hospitalizations.

According to DHS, COVID patient hospitalizations were growing by 62 percent in the North Central Region in the last week.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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