18 Wisconsin counties have ‘high’ COVID-19 community levels

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 10:49 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The number of Wisconsin counties experiencing high COVID-19 community levels more than doubled in the past week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures show. The agency’s latest update found 18 counties colored the orange indicating high levels, a jump from the seven reported at the end of last week.

While Dane Co. continues to record the most cases per capita in the state, it remained at the ‘medium’ level. That’s because federal health officials rank the counties based on cases per 100,000 residents and a pair of hospitalizations figures.

With the number of cases Dane Co. is seeing – 481.99 per 100,000 residents – it would need to see new COVID-19 hospitalizations to cross 10 per 100,000 residents or ten percent of staffed inpatient beds being used to treat patients with COVID-19. The state’s second largest county falls below both cutoffs, however it is creeping toward the new admissions line, having jumped from 4.9 to 8.8 in a week.

Several other south-central Wisconsin counties are in the same boat, seeing case counts at a level where two more COVID-19 admittances per 100,000 residents in a week would push them into the high category. Those counties include:

CountyCases/100kNew COVID-19 admissions per 100K% Staffed Inpatient Beds


New Cases (per 100,000 population in the last 7 days)IndicatorLowMediumHigh
<200 casesNew COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (7-day total)<10.010.0-19.9≥20.0
<200 casesPercent of staffed inpatient beds in use by COVID-19 patients (7-day average)<10.0%10.0-14.9%≥15.0%
≥200 casesNew COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population (7-day total)N/A<10.0≥10.0
≥200 casesPercent of staffed inpatient beds in use by COVID-19 patients (7-day average)N/A<10.0%≥10.0%

A third of the orange Wisconsin counties span the Milwaukee metropolitan area, while six more are in the northwestern part of the state. The final half-dozen counties fall across a diagonal stretching from La Crosse and Monroe counties to Marinette Co. No south-central counties are considered high.

Three counties in the southwestern corner of the state – Crawford, Grant, and Lafayette – as well as Dodge and Marquette counties are among the 19 still ranked as having low community transmission.

CDC Community Levels, on May 20, 2022.
CDC Community Levels, on May 20, 2022.(CDC)

On Friday, DHS reported declines for new COVID-19 cases for the fourth straight day. The seven-day rolling average had slipped below 2,000 cases per day over the previous week. The past four days days make up the longest stretch of declines since cases plummeted out from January’s highs and began the two-month climb. The most recent figures put the rolling average six times higher than it was when those increases began in March.

With 2,143 cases reported on Friday, the seven-day rolling average now stands at 1,980 cases per day.

The seven-day rolling average for deaths ticked up to two per day in the latest report, but remains at the low levels seen for most of the month.

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