Not Peaking Yet: COVID-19 cases still rising in Wisconsin as Delta variant surges
Nationally, the delta surge of COVID-19 seems to have peaked. That’s not the case in Wisconsin.
The state is averaging 2,857 new cases a day.
That’s nearly double where we were two weeks ago and it’s 123% increase from a month ago.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard says he’s studied the trends of this delta surge worldwide and in other states.
Places like India and many southern states saw more cases and deaths during this latest surge than the one last fall and winter.
“We want to do everything we can to not have that happen in Wisconsin, but we have not seen anything reassuring that we’re not heading in that direction right now. What we’ve learned is that it does make a difference in how we respond. If we use the prevention strategy, if we maximize vaccination, we have the best chance of minimizing this surge,” said Westergaard.
Right now, Wisconsin is seeing about half as many cases as during our peak last year.
We’re also seeing about a fifth as many deaths as during the last surge.
DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake points to good vaccination numbers among the people most vulnerable to COVID-19 for the fewer deaths.
Though she does say will see more deaths as they usually follow the increased hospitalizations like we’re seeing now.
“Reports of pressures on staffing and staff availability are coming in from hospitals and long-term care providers all across Wisconsin,” said Timberlake.
Timberlake says there’s only about 5% of ICU beds in the entire state are open right now.
COVID-19 cases are rising in Wisconsin, especially in children.
A month ago, those under 18 accounted for a little more than 2,000 cases of COVID reported the week of August 15th.
Last week, 4,051 children and teens under 18 tested positive.
The Department of Health Services says 9 to 13-year-olds account for most of those cases.
Timberlake says schools and communities need to take steps to slow the spread of the virus.
“The good news is we know how to do this. We know how to keep kids in schools safe. The way we can accomplish it is by working together. We have to use all of the tools in our toolbox to combat COVID-19 to combat the COVID variant as layers of protection against this disease,” said Timberlake.
Those tools include COVID vaccinations for students who are old enough, wearing masks indoors, social distancing, keeping kids home if they’re showing any symptoms, and getting tested.
DHS is working with districts across the state to offer testing in schools.
Rhinelander, Northland Pines, and Mercer all offer covid testing for students, families, and staff.
Families should contact their district for information.