In the last year and a half, 6,850 Wisconsinites have died because of COVID-19. 248 of those deaths are people from the Northwoods.
“For the nurses who knew their faces were the last their patients would see. Their hands the last they would hold. For our healthcare professionals on the frontline of this pandemic the numbers are all too real. This past year, over a year, has been a year of loss,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, Department of Health Services Deputy Director.
For most of March and the beginning of April, Wisconsin was averaging four to six deaths a day, the lowest since last July.
But lately deaths and cases have been increasing again. The state is now averaging 11 deaths a day. COVID-19 case activity remains high across the Northwoods.
“After this long, I know it can feel overwhelming to hear that cases are still increasing and that we’re still losing friends and neighbors to this virus. That is why it is so important to get vaccinated,” said Willems Van Dijk.
Vaccination rates have slowed in the last couple of weeks.
Right now, the state is averaging 30,000 vaccinations a day. At its peak nearly a month ago, the state was averaging more than double that at 64,000 doses a day.
About 43-percent of the state’s population has gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vilas, Iron, and Oneida Counties are getting close to half their residents with at least one dose.
Willems Van Dijk encourages everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.
“It is our most effective tool to get through this pandemic. The more of us who get vaccinated, the faster we can get there,” she said.
Willems Van Dijk said employers have helped get a lot of people vaccinated in the state.
Because of that success, DHS wants to get more workplaces and organizations involved in the vaccination effort.
“This program will connect employers and community-based organizations directly with vaccinators. Together these organizations and vaccinators can provide on-site or pop-up vaccination clinics for employees and community members,” she said.
The push to get more people vaccinated comes as Wisconsin surpasses 600,000 COVID-19 cases.
“As we pass this milestone of 600,000 cases, let us recommit. Recommit to preventing more cases and more deaths. Recommit to remembering that these numbers represent people and that this virus results in loss for far too many. And recommit to stopping it in its tracks,” said Willems Van Dijk.
Check out WXPR’s vaccine information page for local places to get vaccinated.