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COVID-19 cases on the rise in Wisconsin

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country, including in Wisconsin. With travel increasing, health officials say they’re on high alert.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the 7-day rolling average is up 160% over the last two weeks. Monday, that average was 156 new cases. On July 5, that number was 60.

But what’s the reason for the case spike? Doctors say increased travel, the delta variant, and lower vaccination rates in some areas are reasons for the change.

“We were really in a good place feeling good about our efforts and the portion of people that have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In the last two weeks, COVID-19 data is Wisconsin has changed with daily case counts going up by more than 100%.

“That tells us there’s a lot more COVID already and it tells us there’s more we’re not detecting,” said Dr. Westergaard.

Westergaard points out that the majority of new infections are among those who are not vaccinated. “The risk to people who are vaccinated, its much much lower,” he said. “The effectiveness of the vaccine has continued to hold.”

“This delta variant amongst the unvaccinated is the real deal. It’s nothing to laugh about or shrug off,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW Health Chief Quality Officer.

Dr. Pothof says there has been a slight increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations, which is expected when cases go up.

“Across the state, numbers are up a little bit,” said Pothof. “Initially you’ll see an increase in cases. That’s certainly true in Wisconsin two three weeks later you’ll start to see an increase in hospitalizations and a few weeks after that, you could see deaths.”

Health officials say that should be a concern for people who are unvaccinated.

“Our message from the state health department and medical community is if you haven’t gotten your vaccine now is the time...we’re in a bit of a race,” said Westergaard.

DHS continues to encourage Wisconsinites to get vaccinated. For those who are not, officials say its important to continue to follow precautions like sanitizing, mask wearing, and distancing.

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