COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rising
Hospitalizations could be an indication of rising transmission.
The latest data on COVID-19 for Milwaukee County shows that cases overall are decreasing, but hospitalizations have been steadily increasing since November and are at their highest point in nearly a year.
This past week, there were 161 people hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 153 the week prior. In the final week of November, there were 130 people hospitalized with the disease. During this period, the number of new cases has fluctuated from week to week, going up and down, according to a weekly report compiled by epidemiologists, public health officials and faculty from the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-Milwaukee.
Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County, recently explained that even if XBB does not produce more severe disease, an increase in disease transmission will tend to increase hospitalization numbers.
“Let’s say 3% of people who get [COVID-19] get hospitalized. If a community has 1000 people get infected, that means 30 hospitalizations,” Weston said. “If the virus is more transmissible and now 3,000 people get infected, then even with same severity 90 people get hospitalized.”
In Milwaukee County, true case numbers have become difficult to come by with the widespread use of at-home tests, the results of which are not easily captured by public health institutions. The weekly report tracking COVID-19 in Milwaukee County also doesn’t include data from rapid antigen tests, which have become notorious for false-negatives.
Weston said XBB is “spreading like wildfire.” It’s the dominant variant in the U.S. accounting for approximately 43% of cases. In the Midwest, it’s still the third most common variant, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it is rapidly increasing as the two dominant variants have begun to wane.
In Milwaukee County, the latest data from a countywide vaccine report shows that 61.8% of residents are completely vaccinated as of one week ago; and only 59.8% of booster-eligible residents have received one. Anyone five years or older who completed primary vaccination prior to August 12, 2022 with a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or prior to November 10, 2022 with a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, are eligible for a booster.
If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.
- MKE County: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rising - Graham Kilmer - Jan 16th, 2023
- Not Enough Getting Bivalent Booster Shots, State Health Officials Warn - Gaby Vinick - Dec 26th, 2022
- Nearly All Wisconsinites Age 6 Months and Older Now Eligible for Updated COVID-19 Vaccine - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Dec 15th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Dec 9th, 2022
- MKE County: COVID-19 Disease Burden Remains Stable - Graham Kilmer - Nov 25th, 2022
- MKE County: Wastewater Data Shows COVID-19 Uptick - Graham Kilmer - Nov 18th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Nov 11th, 2022
- DHS Launches Free Telehealth Service for COVID-19 Treatment - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Nov 2nd, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Oct 28th, 2022
- New COVID-19 Boosters Available for Children - Graham Kilmer - Oct 25th, 2022
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here