Doctors encouraged by Wisconsin’s falling COVID-19 numbers

Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 6:15 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - In the past three weeks, Wisconsin’s seven-day COVID-19 case average has dropped more than 15,000 according to the state Department of Health Services (DHS).

DHS data shows the seven-day average on Jan. 16 was 18,116. Tuesday’s average was 2,864.

“I feel like this is definitely a positive trend and we’ve seen this throughout the United States. There’s been that drastic downfall of COVID cases,” said Tammy Simon, Marshfield Clinic Health System Vice President of the Institute for Quality, Innovation and Patient Safety.

She helps coordinate Marshfield Clinic’s COVID-19 response.

She said recent data, which shows case numbers and hospitalizations falling, has created some breathing room.

“It allows us to get back on track with our elective surgeries,” Simon said. “As many other health systems were, we were really going to the urgent and emergent surgeries. Now we can accept those surgeries and those patients that have to have a hospitalization along with a surgical procedure.”

Simon’s not the only one encouraged by recent numbers.

Prevea Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ken Johnson said things are trending in the right direction.

While his hospital is still full of COVID patients, he expects that number to decline in the coming weeks.

“In all of Wisconsin, including Northwest Wisconsin, the numbers are declining rapidly,” Johnson said.

He said the decline is largely due to the virus running its course.

“It’s the same spike we saw in other countries,” Johnson said. “Because this spreads so quickly, it infects a portion of the population that’s going to get it very quickly and then once there’s not a lot of people left to spread it to, it drops off very quickly.”

Though the numbers look better, both Johnson and Simon stress we’re not out of the woods yet.

Johnson said we haven’t hit the endemic stage, however that definition can be open to interpretation.

“The state we’re really trying to get to is a state where the amount of disease in the population is low, the spread does not occur in large spike, and therefore does not overwhelm the health care system, and has a controlled fatality rate,” Johnson said.

He added even when we hit that stage, people still need to take the virus seriously even if there’s not universal masking and distancing recommendations.

He said, right now, people still should be wearing masks and social distancing. Current case numbers are similar to the 2020-2021 winter peaks.

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