Graham Kilmer
MKE County

COVID-19 No Longer Declining in Milwaukee

Transmission rate rises slightly even as deaths down and many getting vaccinated.

By - Mar 4th, 2021 05:00 pm
Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

Cases of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County have plateaued and transmission is going up in the city.

Since the second week of January, the number of daily new cases of COVID-19 has been trending down. The latest report from a team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee tracking the disease locally shows that downward trend has given way to a low, but holding, number of new cases each day.

This flattening of the trend is also accompanied by a rise in the county’s transmission rate. The county has had a transmission rate indicating suppression of the disease for more than a month, Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department said. That’s no longer the case.

Rausch works to produce the weekly report, which shows the new transmission rate for the county is 1.09. This means that, on average, every new case of COVID-19 is transmitting the disease to “a little bit more than one additional person,” he said. A rate above 1.00 is a bad sign. The rise in transmission is also currently more pronounced in the city than in the suburbs.

The latest numbers on deaths suggest the county may be starting to see the effect of vaccination. In the past week, there have been no reported deaths. Rausch said the hope is that as vaccination continues to rise there will be a reduction in serious COVID-19 outcomes like hospitalization and death.

Earlier this week, when the state began the second phase of vaccination, it announced that more than half of all residents 65 years or older had received at least one dose of vaccine. 

Testing has been dropping, and public health officials urge residents to continue to access COVID-19 testing. But the positivity for the county, or the percentage of tests that come back positive for the virus has also been dropping week over week. Two weeks ago it was 3.4%. This past week it was 2.8%.

Young people aged 25 to 39 still have the most cases and have the highest rate of disease. White people have the biggest numbers when it comes to cases, Hispanic people have the highest rate of COVID-19. Black residents continue to have a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations.

Recently, American Indian and Alaskan Native residents saw a spike in their deaths and hospitalizations and now have the highest rate for both in the county.

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

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Categories: Health

One thought on “MKE County: COVID-19 No Longer Declining in Milwaukee”

  1. RadioWires says:

    Not great. I expect we’ll maybe see a small st patrick’s day spike before vaccines finish the job in April and May

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