New COVID-19 Cases Declining
But County's transmission rate continues to tick up, threatening current virus suppression.
Milwaukee County has experienced approximately four straight weeks of declining new cases of COVID-19.
In both adults and children, the weekly average for daily new cases has been falling since the second week of January.
The seven-day daily case rate is still higher than it was during previous lulls in disease. The county continues to come down from a massive spike in disease this fall.
Deaths in the county have been “static,” according to Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department, who has been working on the weekly report throughout the pandemic. Right now the county is averaging about two to four deaths a day from COVID-19.
One indicator, which recently started ticking up, has continued that trend. The latest data on the county’s transmission rate, which measures, on average, how many people will be infected by one identified case of COVID-19, shows an increase.
A transmission rate below 1.0 indicates community suppression of the virus. Right now the county’s transmission rate is approximately 0.96, Rausch said. The suburban part of the county has already approached 1.0, the city’s rate remains below 1.0.
While testing is down relative to the fall, the positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19 has been steadily dropping. Last week the positivity rate was 6.6%, this past week it was 4.3%.
White residents have the most cases. Hispanic residents have the highest rate of COVID-19. White residents and Black residents now have equivalent rates of death from COVID-19, which is the highest among racial and ethnic populations in the county. Black residents in Milwaukee County still make up a disproportionate number of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19.
A map showing the incidence of COVID-19 in the county shows that there are still major hotspots on the south side of the city of Milwaukee and southern suburbs like Oak Creek, Franklin and South Milwaukee.
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