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Wisconsin COVID-19 activity drops significantly, but it’s still 4x critical levels

Dane Co. levels are even higher.
(NBC15)
Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 3:23 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin’s COVID-19 case activity remains locked well above what state health officials consider critical levels, while Dane Co. specifically is stuck even higher.

In its weekly update, the Dept. of Health Services released new numbers showing the statewide case burden now sits at 3,900.8 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks. That nearly quadruples the 1,000-case threshold for critical activity, the highest level on the agency’s scale.

Meanwhile, Dane Co., which extended its emergency order and mask mandate earlier in the day, is more than 50 percent higher at 5,996.9 cases per 100,000 residents. That figure trails only the 7,017.2-rate recorded in Menominee Co. When contacted about the activity level, Public Health Madison and Dane Co. told NBC15 that the state’s figure could be inflated because of the influx of cases that were recorded by the state between Jan. 13 and Jan. 18 as it cleared a backlog of previously diagnosed cases. Using their own data, which was not affected by the backlog, PHMDC found the case activity burden was 3,043.8 per 100,000.

While the state and each of its 72 counties were well into critical levels, there were positive signs in the report. The statewide burden saw a dramatic drop from the previous week, with DHS reporting a sharp 54 percent downward trajectory. Only one county – Crawford – saw significant week-to-week growth, according to the state health agency.

COVID-19 Disease Activity, as reported by the Dept. of Health Services, on Jan. 26, 2022.
COVID-19 Disease Activity, as reported by the Dept. of Health Services, on Jan. 26, 2022.(Dept. of Health Services)

While the case activity report spans the two-week period leading up to Jan. 25, the seven-day rolling average for cases continues a downward slide that leaves it currently lower now than any point during that fortnight.

The rolling average dropped Wednesday to 9,012 cases per day over the past week. On Jan. 12, i.e. the first day tracked for case activity, DHS reported 10,730 cases per day, a number that may have been lower than reality because it was shortly after then that cases spiked because as the agency cleared a backlog of cases.

According to DHS’ latest numbers, state health officials tallied 7,662 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, making it the third straight day that fewer than 10,000 cases were reported in a single day. The latest cases did, however, drive the total number of cases since the pandemic began, which stood near a million at the beginning of the year, past the 1.3 million-mark.

Dept. of Health Services COVID-19 report, on Jan. 26, 2022.
Dept. of Health Services COVID-19 report, on Jan. 26, 2022.(Dept. of Health Services)

The seven-day rolling average for deaths did retreat Wednesday, after a spike the previous day sent it to levels not seen since late 2020. Thirty-one new deaths were recorded in the past day, bringing the rolling-average down from 36 per day to 32 per day. Despite the decline, the lower average is still higher than any other point in more than a year.

In all, 10,950 people have died from COVID-19 or complications from the virus, DHS reports.

Dept. of Health Services COVID-19 report, on Jan. 26, 2022.
Dept. of Health Services COVID-19 report, on Jan. 26, 2022.(Dept. of Health Services)

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