COVID-19 Transmission Going Down
But disease levels and case numbers are still high. And hospitalizations are rising.
The current transmission rate of COVID-19 in Milwaukee County indicates that the surge in disease caused by the Delta variant may be waning locally.
During the past two months, the county has experienced very high rates of disease, with transmission peaking in mid July. But the latest report by a team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee shows a transmission rate that could indicate community suppression of COVID-19 for the first time since June.
The report also shows “slight decreases” in new cases of COVID-19, said Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield health Department in an email releasing the report. Rausch works on the weekly report and he said, “However, it is challenging to detect a trend solely on changes over a one-week period. The COVID-19 situation in Milwaukee County remains high overall with high potential for continuing community transmission.”
While this data is a positive sign that the surge may have peaked, the second order effects of rising cases are occurring. That is, hospitalizations and deaths are rising.
Currently there are 258 adults hospitalized with COVID-19, last week there were 176; and there are 18 children hospitalized with COVID-19. During the past week, nine people died in Milwaukee County of COVID-19.
The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19 has dropped. It was 9.3% this past week, and 10.1% the week before. But with 4,000 pending tests, Rausch said “we would anticipate the real number to likely be an increase again for the 6th consecutive week (since late June).”
Currently, only 57.3% of county residents that are eligible for the vaccine — those aged 12 years and older — are fully vaccinated, according to a countywide report on vaccination.
Asian county residents have the highest rate of vaccination, followed by white residents, then American Indian and American Native residents, then Hispanic residents and Black residents.
Hospitalizations are rising, and for a long time Black residents have made up a disproportionate number of hospitalizations relative to their share of the county’s population. Hispanic residents continue to have the highest rate of disease and American Indian and Alaskan Native residents have the highest rate of death.
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