Graham Kilmer
MKE County

COVID-19 Cases Still High in Milwaukee County

The latest surge is producing cases among children nearly on par with the largest surge of the pandemic.

By - Sep 17th, 2021 08:33 pm
2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

2019 Novel Coronavirus. Image by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Milwaukee County, the latest surge in COVID-19 has stopped going up, but the burden of disease is also not going down.

The number of daily new cases of COVID-19 continues to hold at levels not seen in the county since January.

There were 1,480 new cases of COVID-19 identified in the county during the past week, according to a weekly report tracking the disease locally.

Public health officials have frequently attributed the current surge to a combination of the highly transmissible Delta variant and a large portion of the general population that remains unvaccinated. These contributing factors are perhaps most clearly observed in the significant rise in disease among children, many of whom remain ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The proportion of the county’s cases that are occurring in children is rising. Even over the past week the proportion of cases went from 32% to nearly 34%, according to Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department, and a member of the team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee that have been tracking the disease locally.

There were 499 new cases of COVID-19 among children during the past week. The previous week there were 463. The seven day average in the city of Milwaukee this past week was inching closer to the highest seven day average for children the city has ever experienced, Rausch noted in an email releasing this week’s report.

There were 272 adults and 40 children hospitalized with COVID-19 this past week. This is a slight increase for children compared to the previous week.

There were 15 deaths due to COVID-19 this past week. The previous week there were four deaths.

Deaths, and hospitalizations, are considered lagging indicators of disease because of the time it takes for COVID-19 to make a person seriously ill. Throughout the pandemic spikes in deaths and hospitalizations have always been weeks behind spikes in disease.

The transmission rate, which measures how many people, on average, will be infected by a single case of COVID-19, has dropped below 1.0, indicating community suppression of the disease. A rate below 1.0 means that less than one other person will contract the disease for every identified case of COVID-19.

The positivity rate is holding relatively steady throughout the county. The positivity rate measures the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19. The countywide rate was 8.9% this past week. In the city it was 9.8%, and in the suburbs it was 7.3%.

Black residents in Milwaukee County continue to suffer from a level of hospitalization that is disproportionately high relative to their share of the population. Cumulative cases among Black residents also surpassed those among Hispanic residents in late July, something that has not occurred since the very early days of the pandemic. Hispanic residents continue to have the highest case rate among the county’s racial and ethnic groups. American Indian and Alaskan Native residents continue to have the highest rate of death.

Vaccination marginally improved among eligible county residents during the past week, going from 59.6% fully vaccinated to 60.4% fully vaccinated.

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

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Categories: Health

One thought on “MKE County: COVID-19 Cases Still High in Milwaukee County”

  1. NieWiederKrieg says:

    98% of the people that I see in public are not wearing masks. The stores have signs on the door that say “masks required” but nobody is enforcing the rule. I will be wearing my mask for at least 5 more years.

    I predict an extremely large increase in COVID cases when the weather gets cold.

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