Graham Kilmer
MKE County

COVID-19 Transmission Ticks Up in Milwaukee

New case numbers are going down, but small changes in data trends point to a rise in transmission.

By - Feb 4th, 2021 05:49 pm
One week reproductive number for Milwaukee County

One week reproductive number for Milwaukee County

For the past month, Milwaukee County has experienced a steady decrease in the number of new cases of COVID-19.

Most key indicators of the level of disease in the community continue to move “in a favorable direction,” said Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department.

Rausch is working with a team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee to produce a weekly report tracking the disease in the county.

Trends in daily cases, transmission and testing all largely continued in recent weeks, except for some small aberrations in the city which may point to increased transmission in Milwaukee.

One point is that disease is currently decreasing among children in the suburbs faster than among children in Milwaukee. This, Rausch said, “would be indicative of more disease occurring in the City of Milwaukee within the last week.”

Also, the transmission rate, which measures how many people will be infected, on average, by a single case of COVID-19, has been inching up. The rate has been well below 1.0 for weeks, indicating suppression of the disease in the county. Just recently it went up to .85. In the city, this rise has been more pronounced than in the suburbs.

Testing numbers are low, and have been dropping since the beginning of January. Fortunately, the positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive has also been dropping. This past week the positivity rate was 6.6%. The week before it was 7.1%.

The county’s older residents, 60 years and older, continue to experience the highest rates of death and hospitalization. While the younger residents 25 to 59 have the highest case numbers and rates of disease.

The county’s American Indian and Alaskan Native population has the highest rates of hospitalization and death in the county. The county’s Hispanic population has the highest rate of disease. And white residents have the highest cumulative number of deaths.

Read the weekly report here. Read the kids report here.

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Categories: Health, MKE County

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