How COVID Activity Has Changed in Wisconsin Since November


It’s nowhere near the level of thousands of new COVID-19 cases per day in November in Wisconsin, but a small increase in cases worries state health officials. Wisconsin has improved its spread of COVID-19 since November, when cases peaked and critically high activity was rampant. However, the Department of Health Services is warning the public that the vaccination rate has yet to ease the high-activity burden in many of the state’s 72 counties.

Decline Activity: Critically High to High

COVID-19 activity in Wisconsin has fallen from critically high levels nearly across the state in November to a combination of high and medium activity across the state’s 72 counties, according to the latest DHS data. The “critically high” measurement is a rate about three times more severe than the next level, “very high,” says DHS.

The last time there was a county marked red, or critically high, was in January. Since then, the dark blue, or “very tall,” counties have declined; the last one disappeared in late February, around the same time that a small handful of counties went down to low activity for the first time in months.

But for the last two-week period ending March 23, most of Wisconsin’s counties are still marked as high-activity, with most of the rest – except three – in the mid-range.

“We have come down from an extremely critical, super high level, over 6,000 cases a day, to the level we are at today,” DHS Undersecretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said at a news conference Thursday, referencing to a few hundred new cases a day today. “That is still very high.”

Vaccines: North and South Central Wisconsin Lead by Population Percentage

On Friday, Bayfield and Door counties led Wisconsin in percentage of the population that received their first COVID-19 vaccine at 40% or more. An additional 18 counties that received their first dose, nearly all in north and south central Wisconsin around Dane County, had a rate of 30% or more. Overall, only two counties, Taylor and Clark, fell below 20% in the state.

With a third variant announced Friday in Wisconsin, health officials are urging people to continue safe practices, such as outdoor activities, limited gatherings and masking, for a while longer as vaccines have a chance to increase.

“If we can give this just a couple more months of the kind of progress we are making, I think we will be in a much better position to protect all of us,” said Willems Van Dijk.

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