Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Milwaukee Has Lowest Case Count Since Early Pandemic

The rate of vaccination among Black and Hispanic residents increased during past month.

By - Jun 4th, 2021 03:48 pm
Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases

COVID-19 trends in Milwaukee County continue to point to decreasing levels of disease.

The general trend since vaccinations began in earnest several months ago has been one of increasingly lower levels of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County.

A team of epidemiologists with the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee have been producing a weekly report tracking the disease locally throughout the pandemic. Their latest report shows Milwaukee continues to suppress the disease.

Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department, said, “We have not seen cases this low, as far as seven day averages since very, very early in the outbreak.”

In recent days there have only been a few dozen cases of COVID-19 identified across the county, he said. The current seven-day average for the county is below 100 cases, according to the weekly report.

There were three deaths due to COVID-19 in the county during the past week. During the previous two weeks the county recorded zero COVID-19 related deaths.

The transmission rate, which measures how many people, on average, will become infected by a single case of COVID-19, remains below 1.0, which means the community is suppressing the disease.

The positivity rate, which measures what percentage of tests come back positive for COVID-19, was 1.9% for the entire county this past week. It was 2.2% in the city and 1.4% in the suburbs.

In the City of Milwaukee, the gating criteria from the Milwaukee Health Department indicates moderate to low transmission of disease is occurring in the city. The current case burden is approximately 27 cases per 100,000 people, which indicates moderate transmission. The positivity rate of 2.2% indicates low transmission, according to the health department.

Two weeks ago, vaccination was trending up countywide, largely driven by the recent approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 years and older. This past week, vaccination has trended down. Rausch said he attributes this to fewer people seeking vaccination because of the long holiday weekend.

So far, more than 773,000 doses of vaccine have been administered countywide. More than 367,000 county residents have completed the vaccination process, which is approximately 38% of the population. It’s also behind the state as a whole. Currently, approximately 42% of the state has completed the vaccination process.

Vaccination is generally rising among all age groups. County residents between 60 and 79 years old have the highest level of vaccination, more than 75%, according to a weekly county vaccination report. They are also among the most at risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19.

Racial disparities in vaccination persist. White residents still have the highest rate of vaccination, followed closely by Asian residents. Hispanic residents and Black residents have the lowest rates of vaccination in that order.

The report does show that starting in late April the rate of vaccination among Hispanic and Black county residents was starting to rise.

Racial disparities are also present in health outcomes from COVID-19. Black residents in the county continue to have the highest rate of hospitalization, and make up a disproportionate number of the county’s hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

American Indian and Alaskan Native residents still have the highest rate of death, Hispanic residents have the highest rate of disease, while white residents have the most cumulative cases.

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

Categories: Health, MKE County, Weekly

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