COVID-19 Metrics Show Disease Surging Countywide
Weekly new cases have increased eleven-fold over the past month.
The latest data on COVID-19 in Milwaukee County shows an undeniable upward trend in the disease that shows no sign of abating.
A weekly report by epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee shows that key indicators of disease burden and spread are all pointing up.
This quick increase in weekly new cases is also being observed in children. During the past week there were 194 cases of COVID-19 among children 18 years old and younger. Four weeks ago the number of weekly new cases was 22.
During that time there were also zero deaths from COVID-19, according to the report. However, the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management’s COVID-19 dashboard shows there were two deaths; one on the 26th and another on the 27th. Deaths are a lagging indicator of disease, given the amount of time it takes for an infected person to show symptoms, then become seriously ill.
The county’s transmission rate is holding at a level higher than during the fall 2020 spike, which was the largest spike in disease thus far in the pandemic. Though the highest transmission rates the county has seen were at the very start of the pandemic in spring 2020.
The latest data shows the county has a transmission rate of 1.34. This means that every identified case of COVID-19 is likely to spread the disease, on average, to 1.34 other people.
Transmission is highest in the suburbs, where the latest seven-day transmission rate was 1.77. In the city of Milwaukee it was 1.23.
The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19 continues its week over week rise. This past week, the county’s positivity rate was 9.2%, the week before the rate was 5.4%, and the week before that the rate was 3.0%.
The city of Milwaukee had a higher positivity rate at 9.6% than the suburbs at 8.6%.
The vaccination rate for Milwaukee County hit its peak in mid April and has been steadily declining since, mirroring trends at the state and national level. In recent weeks, the county has had a seven-day average of roughly 1,000 doses a day being administered countywide.
The racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 disease outcomes and vaccinations continue.
Countywide, Asian residents have the highest rate of vaccination, followed by white residents. American Indian and Alaskan Native residents appear to be on track to match or surpass the vaccination rate among white residents in coming weeks. Hispanic and Black county residents have the lowest rate of vaccination in that order.
The vaccination report does show that the vaccination rate among Black and Hispanic residents is steadily increasing, meanwhile, the vaccination rate among white residents has been gradually decreasing since late February and early March.
Black county residents continue to make up a disproportionately high number of the county’s hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Hispanic residents still have the highest rate of disease, and American Indian and Alaskan native residents have the highest rate of death.
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