COVID-19 Declining Countywide
Key indicators of disease all point to a sustained decline in COVID-19.
Milwaukee County is finally experiencing a sustained decline in COVID-19.
The disease began surging in late July, and public health officials pointed to the highly contagious Delta variant and the fact that only about 50% of county residents were vaccinated at that point as contributing factors.
The seven-day average of daily new cases has been declining throughout October. The latest weekly report from a team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee shows there were 1,062 cases of COVID-19 from Oct. 13-19. The week prior to that there were 1,220.
This same trend is showing up in children, who had 357 cases countywide and 419 the week prior.
Daily rates for hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 are also dropping, said Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor. “At the moment, all of our trends are certainly going in the right direction.”
The latest data on the county’s transmission rate, from Oct. 6-12, indicates the community is suppressing the disease. The transmission rate, which measures how many people on average will catch the disease from one confirmed case of COVID-19, was below 1.0 in both the city and the suburbs.
The county’s positivity rate, from Oct. 13 -19, was 6.6%. This means that 6.6% of all COVID-19 tests in the county came back positive for the disease. This is a drop from the previous week which had a positivity rate above 7%.
Racial and ethnic disparities still exist in the vaccination rates in the county. Asian residents have the highest rate of vaccination, followed by American Indian and Alaskan Natives, then white residents, followed by Hispanic and then Black residents.
Disparities have also persisted in disease outcomes. Black residents have had a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations, relative to their share of the county’s population. Hispanic residents have had the highest rate of disease, and American Indian and Alaskan Native residents have had the highest rate of death.
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