COVID-19 Transmission Rising Slightly
Cases and transmission are higher in the city than the suburbs.
Recent COVID-19 trends are continuing largely the same in Milwaukee County.
Among adults in the county, disease is plateauing. But among children, specifically in the City of Milwaukee, new cases of COVID-19 are rising. Children 16 years and younger are still ineligible for the vaccine.
A team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee have been tracking COVID-19 locally and producing a weekly report. Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department works with the team on the report and he said there is both “positive” and “concerning” things in the data from the past week.
But for children, cases are rising significantly. Teenagers aged 15 to 17 are seeing the greatest number of new cases. Black children continue to make up a greatly disproportionate number of hospitalizations, reflecting disparities in COVID-19 that have been witnessed since the start of the pandemic.
Among adults, the transmission rate, which measures on average how many people will contract COVID-19 from a single confirmed case, is beginning to inch up close to one. The rate was .98 for the county this past week. A rate below 1.0 is needed for community suppression.
The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 has stayed exactly the same over the past week at 4.4%.
Demographically, many of the COVID-19 trends are holding. Hispanic people have the highest rate of COVID-19 and white people have the most cases.
Recently, Black people in Milwaukee surpassed the American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN) group and now have the highest rate of hospitalization due to COVID-19. The rate of death is still highest among the AIAN community.
The transmission rate among Milwaukee’s Black community appears to be increasing faster than other groups, Rausch said. If the trend continues, they will soon have more cumulative cases than the Hispanic community in Milwaukee, which is something the county has not been seen since the early months of the pandemic, he said.
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