State health officials identify more UK COVID-19 variant cases

DHS reports Thursday 69 of the cases are UK variants, also known as variant B.1.1.7, up from the 56 identified last week.
UW-Madison professor says rising case numbers are not a reason to panic.
UW-Madison professor says rising case numbers are not a reason to panic.(WMTV)
Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 2:46 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Department of Health Services has identified 70 cases of COVID-19 variants since starting to test for them in Wisconsin, 13 of which are new this week.

DHS reports Thursday that 69 of the cases are UK variants, also known as variant B.1.1.7, up from the 55 identified last week. There is still only one case of the South African variant, or B.1.351, and none of the Brazilian variant, P.1.

Health officials have previously said these variants spread more rapidly and easily than the original strain of COVID-19, but in an update of the department’s dashboard Thursday, DHS said “emerging evidence suggests that B.1.1.7 may be associated with an increased risk of death compared to the other variants.” DHS did emphasize though that there would need to be additional tests conducted to confirm this information.

On Thursday, DHS reported 537 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the seven-day rolling average up again to 539.

There has been a significant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases among health care workers, DHS notes, showing a downward trend since Jan. 31 in Wisconsin for these cases. Overall, 5% of total COVID-19 cases have been health care workers while 40% are not health care workers. The remaining 54% have an unknown profession.

NBC15 has reached out to DHS officials on what they attribute this decline to and will update this story with their response.

There were 60 more patients admitted to Wisconsin hospitals with the virus Thursday, out of the 248 patients total. There are currently 62 patients in the ICU.

Two Wisconsinites died Thursday due to COVID-19, DHS added, bringing the total number of residents that have died from COVID-19 up to 6,599.

More Wisconsin counties reach 30% for residents with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose

DHS’ COVID-19 vaccine dashboard map shows three in ten residents of both Green and Lafayette Counties have received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, at 31.3% and 30.8% respectively. Iowa County and Dane County were already at 30% for single doses, now both at over one-third of residents partially vaccinated.

In the state overall, 27.3% of people have received one dose and 15.8% of people have completed their vaccination series.

Nearly three-quarters of Wisconsinites ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of the virus, while just over half of that age group are fully vaccinated.

There have been 158,459 vaccine doses administered so far this week, up from the 89,807 total doses on Wednesday.

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