Graham Kilmer
MKE County

City COVID-19 Transmission Higher Than Suburbs

A higher percentage of suburban residents have received the vaccine than the city.

By - Jul 23rd, 2021 05:14 pm
A transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 isolated from a patient in the U.S. diagnosed with COVID-19. The crown-like spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name. Image from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Rocky Mountain Laboratories (CC BY 2.0).

A transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 isolated from a patient in the U.S. diagnosed with COVID-19. The crown-like spikes on the outer edge of the virus particles give coronaviruses their name. Image from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Rocky Mountain Laboratories (CC BY 2.0).

The number of new cases of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County continues to rise, and disease transmission in the city of Milwaukee is surging above other parts of the county.

This past week, there were 389 new cases in Milwaukee County. Just two weeks ago there were only 89 new cases in a week.

The growth in cases is also present among children. There were 89 new cases among children in Milwaukee last week, compared to 45 the week before.

A weekly report by epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee shows that transmission of COVID-19 is up countywide, but the city of Milwaukee is currently seeing higher levels of transmission than the suburbs.

The latest data shows the transmission rate in the county to be well above 1.0, meaning each new case of COVID-19 will likely pass the disease to more than one other person. Transmission is most pronounced in the city of Milwaukee where the transmission rate was shown to be above 1.5 as of July 13. In the suburbs the transmission rate was just above 1.0.

The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19, also continues to rise. This past week, the positivity rate was 5.4% countywide. The week before it was 3.0%.

In the city, the positivity rate was 6.0% this past week. It was 4.3% in the suburbs.

Recently, Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services for the county, said rising cases were likely due to the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. He noted that vaccines continue to be the most effective defense against the virus and that the county still has a large portion of its population that remains unvaccinated.

Currently only 46% of all county residents are completely vaccinated. That number is 57% for residents 16 years or older.

Vaccinations rates have been falling since they peaked in mid-April, mirroring a statewide trend. In recent weeks, the number of daily vaccinations have held relatively steady at very low levels, less than 2,000 doses a day, according to a county vaccination report.

The last time vaccination numbers were this low was in late December and early January, just after the first vaccines were approved for emergency use and supply was very low.

Racial and ethnic disparities persist in both vaccination rates and disease outcomes.

Currently, Asian residents have the highest rate of vaccination, followed by white residents, then American Indian and Alaskan Native residents, then Hispanic residents and then Black residents, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Black residents make up a disproportionate number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Hispanic residents have the highest rate of disease. American Indian and Alaskan Native residents have the highest rate of death.

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

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Categories: Health, MKE County

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