DHS: Low COVID-19 community levels jump in southern Wisconsin

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:22 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The tick-tock of Dane and other nearby counties bouncing between high COVID-19 community levels and medium ones saw them land once again in the latter column. Only this time, in addition to all southern Wisconsin counties that were classified as high last week showing improvement, the number of ones now landing in the low category jumped.

Last week, Public Health Madison and Dane Co. addressed the repeated flips in the weekly reports over the past several weeks. In the past month and a half, the county has alternated between medium and high categories, offering a couple of explanations. Mostly, the switches were caused by the hospitalizations rate; while the other factor considered, case counts, fell in what would be the high range.

The total number of counties that crossed both the hospitalization and case count thresholds to land in the high category plummeted in the past week, falling from 27 to 17, with none found south of La Crosse and Eau Claire counties. The number of counties rated as having low community levels only ticked up by one, but, at 19, there are more in at the bottom level than the top.

COVID-19 community levels on August 18, 2022.
COVID-19 community levels on August 18, 2022.(Dept. of Health Services)

Among the one that fell to the low range are Grant, Iowa, and Lafayette counties in the southwestern part of the state. Adams, Columbia, Dodge, Green Lake, and Jefferson counties fall into the same category.

The rest of this part of the state, and exactly half of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, are considered as having medium levels. The Department of Health Services tracks the county levels based on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and its classification system.

While community levels keep shifting, the overall case count is continuing its downward trend. Over the past three-and-a-half weeks the seven-day rolling average for new, confirmed cases has slipped slightly every day, but one. In that time, the average, which health officials rely on more than the more volatile single day figures to track trends, has fallen from 1,805 cases per day over the preceding week to 1,419 cases per day, as of Friday, the new DHS numbers show.