Graham Kilmer
MKE County

COVID-19 Cases Rising Among Children and Adults

High level of vaccination among vulnerable age groups has deaths at all-time low.

By - Apr 8th, 2021 08:22 pm
Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Milwaukee County, but deaths are at an all-time low, likely due to the high level of vaccination among the county’s oldest residents.

For the past three weeks, the daily number of new cases of COVID-19 has been rising. Thursday, the state reported more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19 for the first time in well over a month.

Cases are rising among children and adults, and rising faster in the city of Milwaukee than in the suburbs, according to a report from a team of epidemiologists and faculty at the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee tracking COVID-19 locally.

Deaths, however, are low. In the past week Milwaukee County only saw one death from COVID-19. This is due to the incredibly high rate of vaccination among persons aged 65 and older, who are the county’s most vulnerable residents, said Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department. Thus far, approximately two-thirds of residents in that age group have been vaccinated, Rausch said.

Rausch works with the team on the weekly report. He noted that while cases are going up, one promising sign is that the transmission rate has dropped to a level indicating community suppression for the first time in weeks.

The transmission rate has dropped below 1.0 meaning that for each new case fewer than one other person, on average, will be infected.

The positivity rate, however, continues to rise. This rate is a measure of the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19. This past week the positivity rate for the county was 5.6%, the previous week it was 4.5%.

Rausch said it’s been difficult to tease out of the data whether the rise in cases is higher in a specific age group or a racial or ethnic group. As of right now, the rise in COVID-19, he said, appears to be occurring across all ages and racial and ethnic groups. “Generally a little bit of an increase across all groups,” he said.

Though recent demographic trends for COVID-19 observed in recent weeks and throughout the pandemic continue to persist.

American Indian and Alaskan Native people have the highest rates for hospitalization and death in the county. The virus continues to disproportionately affect the county’s Black residents, who are currently suffering the second highest rates of hospitalization and death. Hispanic people still have the highest rate of disease and white people still have the highest case count.

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

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Categories: Health

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