7 Wisconsin counties hit High levels of COVID-19 activity

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Seven Wisconsin counties are now registering High levels of COVID-19 activity as more and more other counties move from Low to Medium status.

Less than a month ago, the map tracking COVID-19 Community Levels on the Department of Health Services website was completely green, reflecting the fact the CDC considered every one of the counties fell into the low category.

Since then, counties started turning yellow as they passed into Medium levels. On Friday, Wisconsin saw its first Orange, i.e. High, counties since DHS switched to reporting CDC’s community levels rather than its own classification system. None of the septet were in south-central Wisconsin.

However, among the counties in the region, the number that are colored yellow has increased to eight. One of the counties seeing worsening levels on the CDC, Rock Co., released a statement Thursday noting the change.

In it, the Rock Co. Public Health Department acknowledged the increasing number of cases, which it pegged at 275 per 100,000 residents, but pointed out that hospitalization and bed capacity has not changed significantly. It attributed that to the counties high vaccination rate.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the level of immunity we currently have in the community will prevent some of the serious illnesses that we have experienced in prior COVID-19 surges,” Health Officer Katrina Harwood said, adding that surges in hospitalizations tend to have an approximately two-week lag from case increases.

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels, on May 22, 2022.
CDC COVID-19 Community Levels, on May 22, 2022.(Dept. of Health Services)

The worsening state of the CDC’s community levels map is also reflected in the hard numbers being reported each day. DHS reported tallying 2,517 cases on Friday, the third highest single-day total in the past three months. The only two days surpassing this latest total were the past two days.

With Friday’s total combined with Wednesday and Thursday’s highs, the seven-day rolling average edged up again, to 2,095 cases per day over the past week. That figure, too, has not been seen since mid-February, when the state was coming off a record-setting January powered by the first Omicron variant. The current totals, while far above months are still far lower than the surge at the beginning of the year.

New confirmed COVID-19 cases by date confirmed, and 7-day average, on May 13, 2022.
New confirmed COVID-19 cases by date confirmed, and 7-day average, on May 13, 2022.(Dept. of Health Services)

The single death reported by DHS on Friday allowed that seven-day rolling average to slip to three per day. In all, health officials have recorded 12,954 deaths in Wisconsin from COVID-19 or complications related to the virus since the pandemic began.

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