Graham Kilmer
MKE County

Report Shows Slight Uptick in COVID-19

Though transmission rate stays below 1.0.

By - Nov 5th, 2021 08:30 pm
Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases.

Milwaukee County daily number of COVID-19 cases.

COVID-19 had been in a sustained decline in Milwaukee County for nearly two months.

Beginning in September, the number of daily new cases of the disease began to decline, along with other key indicators of disease. This past week marked a slight increase in some indicators of disease.

The latest weekly report from a team of epidemiologists and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee shows an increase in cases compared to the week prior. This past week, there were 950 new cases of COVID-19, compared to 799 the week before.

A similar trend was observed in the weekly case rate for children, albeit to a lesser degree. This past week there were 278 cases among children, the week before there were 270.

Hospitalizations went down and deaths went up, when comparing this past week to the week before. Both hospitalizations and deaths are considered lagging indicators of disease because of how long it takes for someone to become seriously ill after contracting COVID-19.

The latest data in the report on transmission countywide, from Oct. 20-26, shows the transmission rate was below 1.0. This means that for each identified case of COVID-19, less than one other person will catch the disease. A transmission rate below 1.0 indicates community suppression.

The positivity rate, which measures how many tests come back positive for COVID-19, also rose slightly this past week to 6.4%. The week prior it was 5.7%.

The city of Milwaukee, according to the Milwaukee Health Department, saw its disease burden drop to a level considered “High Transmission” for the first time since August. Before that the city was experiencing what the health department defined as “Extreme Transmission.” There were approximately 127 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the city this past week.

The percentage of the county’s population 12 years and older that is completely vaccinated is currently 64.4%. This past week, children between the ages of five and 12 became eligible for vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

There have been racial and ethnic disparities in both disease outcomes and COVID-19 vaccination. 

Black residents have had a disproportionately high level of hospitalization, 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.

Black residents have also had the lowest rate of vaccination in the county, according to a countywide vaccination report. Though, Black residents have been making up an increasingly large portion of county  residents accessing vaccination since August. Meanwhile, the vaccination rate among the county’s Hispanic population is on track to surpass the vaccination rate among the county’s white population. The county’s white population had the highest rate of vaccination until June.

Currently, Asian residents have the highest rate of vaccination, followed by American Indians and Alaskan Natives, then white residents, then Hispanic residents and Black residents.

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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