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PHMDC: Dane Co. COVID-19 death rate cut in half since vaccines’ arrival

The new data come Dane Co. crossed 400 total deaths since the pandemic began.
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Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 11:03 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Public Health Madison & Dane Co. offered a bit of good news Thursday evening as it continues to report record-shattering numbers of new COVID-19 cases. In its weekly update, the agency reported that following the arrival of vaccines to combat the virus, the age-adjusted death rate connected to COVID-19 has been cut nearly in half.

Its numbers show that the death rate per 100,000 residents declined 49 percent over that period. Notably, Dane Co. continues to lead the state in vaccinations, according to Dept. of Health Services statistics, with nearly three-quarters of the county fully vaccinated and at least 4 in 5 residents having received at least their first dose.

Further PHMDC figures support the notion that vaccines are having an impact on COVID-19-related deaths. Zooming out to include the five counties with the highest vaccination rates have seen their rates drop by 39 percent, which is more than double the 17 percent drop reported statewide.

Conversely, the five least vaccinated counties have actually seen their death rates rise by nearly a third, coming in at 32 percent. Health officials compared the Dec. 2020 to May 2021 period to come up with its sample for the unvaccinated figure, while the vaccinated numbers come from June 2021 to Dec. 2021 timeframe.

3% tested positive last week

Nearly three percent of Dane Co. residents tested positive for COVID-19 using a PCR test within just the past week, the county’s health pointed out on Thursday evening. That figure does not include those who tested positive using an at-home test, so the number of cases is likely even higher.

PHMDC is urging people who take one of those at-home tests to report the results to the agency, so local health officials’ ability to track the spread across Dane Co. more accurately. With the percentage of recorded tests reaching record levels, with over 1 in 5 tests reported coming back positive.

“A high percent positivity means we are likely missing cases in our case counts,” PHMDC added.

The agency reminded residents the walk-in testing clinic at the Alliant Energy Center is open and appointments can be made here. It is asking anyone experiencing symptoms to visit the clinic or get tested at another location. For anyone needing a test soon, PHMDC was able to add 200 more slots for Friday, Jan. 14, at the Alliant Center.

Dane Co. COVID-19 deaths top 400

Three more deaths were reported in Dane Co. on Friday, which pushed the total across another benchmark. The agency’s figures show 402 county residents have died from COVID-19 or complications from the virus since the pandemic began.

After a three-day stretch in which new daily records were recorded for new COVID-19 cases, the latest figure dropped significantly, more than halving each of the previous two days numbers. On Friday morning, PHMDC preliminary report added 1,161 new cases in the county. The prior two daily preliminary reports saw new cases top 2,400 each day. The agency notes that its figures are considered preliminary for each day and are subject to revision based on the latest data.

Public Health Madison & Dane Co. report for new COVID-19 cases reported over the past two weeks.
Public Health Madison & Dane Co. report for new COVID-19 cases reported over the past two weeks.(Public Health Madison & Dane Co.)

Friday’s decline also allowed the seven-day rolling average, which is designed to smooth out the daily swings, to tick down too. That preliminary figure slipped to 1,747 cases per day over the previous week, which is still the second-highest total on record. PHMDC totals continue to far outstrip those reported by the state Dept. of Health Services, as that agency has not included cases that are still being fully processed.

The number of COVID-19 patients currently hospitalized because of the virus also declined for the second straight day. With eight fewer admitted into Dane Co. hospitals at this time, PHMDC’s update shows 189 patients.

Latest COVID-19 statistics reported by Public Health Dane Co. and Madison, on Friday, Jan. 14,...
Latest COVID-19 statistics reported by Public Health Dane Co. and Madison, on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.(Public Health Madison & Dane Co.)

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