Wisconsin is experiencing COVID-19 levels not seen since the beginning of the pandemic.
The state is averaging about 130 new cases a day.
Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said during Tuesday media briefing that it’s great progress in fight against the virus, but more still needs to be done.
“We are making progress and we need to make even more progress. That is why we are re-launching the ‘You Stop the Spread’ campaign to encourage you to get vaccinated and to offer resources if you have questions about vaccination,” said Willem Van Dijk.
The campaign encourages people to share on social media why you chose to get vaccinated.
Willems Van Dijk said one of the biggest groups they’re focused on getting vaccinated is 20-year-olds.
Right now, about 48-percent of Wisconsinites have gotten at least one dose.
The 18 to 24-year-old age group is sitting at about 39-percent.
“This is where you and your vaccine story can make a difference. You are also a trusted messenger for your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbors,” said Willems Van Dijk. “Sharing your story of why the vaccine is important to you and why you got it for yourself and your family. These stories can really encourage others to get vaccinated too.”
The number of weekly COVID-19 vaccinations has dropped off dramatically in the state.
At its peak more than 425,000 people got vaccinated in a single week. Last week, just under 87,000 people got vaccinated.
As more people get vaccinated and cases continue to decline, life is starting to return to what it looked like pre-COVID-19 pandemic.
People are getting together for barbeques. Events are coming back. Businesses are dropping their mask requirements.
So that begs the question, when does the pandemic end?
“As a physician and someone who works in public health my answer is never. If there are preventable causes of death that we know how to prevent we should try to prevent them. Right now, three people on average a day are still dying of COVID-19 in our state. Everyone who dies of COVID-19 is dying of a preventable death,” said Wisconsin Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard in answer to that question.
The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to stop the spread of the virus and prevent deaths.
Wisconsin’s goal is to get at least 80-percent of the population vaccinated.
Right now, 48-percent have gotten at least one dose.
“When the pandemic will truly be over is if we’ve controlled it globally such that dangerous new genetic variants may not have an opportunity to emerge,” said Westergaard. “Anywhere the virus is replicating there’s a chance for the virus changing. That’s another reason that we want to get to or as close to herd immunity or population-level immunity as we can.”
Iron, Vilas, and Oneida counties are all above the state average with at least half their residents with one dose.
Price, Lincoln, Langlade, and Forest counties are all below the state average.