Jeramey Jannene

As COVID-19 Testing Expands, Racial Disparities Persist

No new deaths reported in past 24 hours, a first since March.

By - May 17th, 2020 03:11 pm
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COVID-19. Credit: U.S. Army.

COVID-19. Credit: U.S. Army.

Substantial racial and ethnic disparities remain in which Wisconsin residents are contracting COVID-19 even after the number of people being tested surged in the past week.

As the outbreak has grown across the state 31 percent of cases involve individuals identifying as Hispanic or Latino, up from 30 percent last week. Outbreaks in many communities have centered on food processing plants, facilities that often employ large numbers of Hispanic and Latino individuals. On April 10th, Hispanics and Latinos represented 10 percent of COVID-19 cases. The group represents 6.9 percent of the state’s population.

The percentage of cases within the state’s black community has fallen over time, but a dramatic disparity still exists and the total number continues to grow. At least 20 percent of confirmed cases involve members of the state’s black population, down from 21 percent last week and 26 percent as of April 10th. Only 6.7 percent of Wisconsin residents identify as black.

Both percentages likely understate the racial disparity. The state does not have race data in 11 percent of cases, up from 10 percent last week.

The data gets starker for the black community when looking at deaths. The Department of Health Services (DHS) reports 29 percent of those that died from the disease have identified as black. The Hispanic or Latino community represents eight percent of deaths.

A total of 5,824 tests were processed in the last 24 hours with 6.11 percent generating a positive result, below the seven-day average of 6.31 percent and 14-day average of 6.911 percent. Across Wisconsin 12,543 people have tested positive for the disease since the outbreak started, an increase of 356 over yesterday.

Deaths continue to be concentrated among the oldest Wisconsin residents while those with confirmed cases are more evenly distributed. Over 71 percent of those that have died from the disease have been 70 or older, while the same age group represents only 13 percent of cases. Approximately 43% have lived in long-term care facilities.

For the first time since March DHS reported no new deaths from the disease in its daily data release. A total of 20 people were newly hospitalized. DHS has reported an average of 9.5 deaths and 34 new hospitalizations each day since it began reporting daily figures in early April.

Both Brown and Racine counties continue to have greater per capita outbreaks than Milwaukee.

Brown County, which is anchored by Green Bay, has 806.8 cases per 100,000 residents (up from 796.8 yesterday). Racine County has 520.5 cases per 100,000 residents (up from 513.8). Milwaukee County has 518.2 cases per 100,000 residents (up from 498.7).

Kenosha (497.8), Walworth (271.8), Rock (265.2), Kewaunee (147.3), Grant (138.9), Ozaukee (138.2), Fond du Lac (135.9), Crawford (135.1), Sauk (121.1), Door (120.3), Dodge (119.6), Calumet (112.4), Green (119.4), Waukesha (117.1), Washington (110) and Dane (101.4) are the only other counties with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents.

The statewide average of cases per 100,000 residents has risen to 217.1 (up from 210.9).

There are currently 952 ventilators and 334 intensive care unit (ICU) beds available across the state according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. Since the data became publicly available on April 10th, WHA has reported an average of 927 ventilators and 424 ICU beds as available.

Charts and Maps

Wisconsin COVID-19 summary

Status Number (%) of People as of 5/17/2020
Negative Test Results 139,674
Positive Test Results 12,543
Hospitalizations 2,038 (16%)
Deaths 453

Percent of COVID-19 cases by hospitalization status

Hospitalization status Number of confirmed cases as of 5/17/2020 Percent of confirmed cases as of 5/17/2020
Ever hospitalized 2,038 16%
Never hospitalized 7,232 58%
Unknown 3,273 26%
Total 12,543 100%

Summary of COVID-19 cases by age group

Age Group (Years) Cases as of 5/17/2020 Ever hospitalized as of 5/17/2020 Any Intensive Care as of 5/17/2020 Deaths as of 5/17/2020
<10 225 9 0 0
10-19 626 19 1 0
20-29 2,093 89 16 4
30-39 2,201 135 23 5
40-49 2,150 237 58 11
50-59 2,055 354 92 39
60-69 1,521 451 137 72
70-79 850 394 99 128
80-89 553 262 50 109
90+ 269 88 18 85
Total 12,543 2,038 494 453

Percent of COVID-19 cases and deaths by gender

Gender Confirmed Cases as of 5/17/2020 Deaths as of 5/17/2020
Female 51% 42%
Male 49% 58%
Unknown 0% 0%
Total Number 12,543 453

Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by race

Race Number of cases as of 5/17/2020 Percent of cases as of 5/17/2020 Number of deaths as of 5/17/2020 Percent of deaths as of 5/17/2020
American Indian 147 1% 5 1%
Asian or Pacific Islander 458 4% 9 2%
Black 2,517 20% 131 29%
White 6,677 53% 299 66%
Multiple or Other races 1,378 11% 3 1%
Unknown 1,366 11% 6 1%
Total 12,543 100% 453 100%

Confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths by ethnicity

Ethnicity Number of cases as of 5/17/2020 Percent of cases as of 5/17/2020 Number of deaths as of 5/17/2020 Percent of deaths as of 5/17/2020
Hispanic or Latino 3,875 31% 34 8%
Not Hispanic or Latino 7,195 57% 411 91%
Unknown 1,473 12% 8 2%
Total 12,543 100% 453 100%

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