Graham Kilmer
MKE County

COVID-19 Being Suppressed Countywide

New daily cases are going down and the transmission rate indicates community suppression.

By - Jan 21st, 2021 07:09 pm
Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

The growth rate of COVID-19 appears to be stabilizing or even shrinking in Milwaukee County.

The latest data shows the number of new daily cases going down slightly and a transmission rate that would indicate community-level suppression of the virus.

A weekly updated report on COVID-19 in Milwaukee by a team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee shows that COVID-19 rose after the Christmas holiday, but that the latest data on cases shows a downward trend.

Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department, cautioned that incomplete data could be producing this result.

Even with the modest downturn in cases recently, the rate of new cases is still very high. Having descended from the massive fall peak in cases, the county is still not close to the low lull in disease it experienced in late summer.

The latest data on the transmission rate in the county shows that as of the first week of January, the transmission rate was below 1.0. This means that each new person with a case of COVID-19 is infecting, on average, less than one other person.

Deaths were higher than they’ve been throughout the entire pandemic in November and early December. On one day at the end of November, the county saw 16 deaths from COVID-19 in a single day. Many of these deaths were in the suburbs, where deaths were significantly higher than what the city experienced. Deaths, though, like cases, have been declining in recent weeks.

The number of people getting tested still hasn’t returned to the levels seen during the massive spike in November. Though it has been slowly rising since the end of December. 

The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive, has oscillated up and down during the past two months. Lately, it has been heading down. This past week, the positivity rate was 7.8%. The week before it was 9.6%.

There has been virtually no change in the demographic picture of COVID-19, except in the rate of death. The rate of deaths among white people is now roughly equivalent with Black people. Until now, Black people had the highest rate of death due to COVID-19 in the county.

Young people continue to have the most cases and the highest rate of infection. While older people continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization and death. White people in the county have the most cases. Hispanic people have the highest incidence of COVID-19. American Indian and Alaskan Native residents have the highest hospitalization rate. 

Read the weekly report here. Read the children’s report here.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Asian residents had the highest hospitalization rate. I should have said American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN).

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Categories: Health, MKE County

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