Editors note: this story is updated as of Tuesday, Mar. 9, in the COVID variants section to reflect growth in numbers.
DRIFTLESS - Over the past week COVID-19, diagnoses statewide increased from 564,268 on Monday, Mar. 1 to 566,871 on Monday, Mar. 8. That is a statewide increase of 2,603 cases. The number of deaths increased from 6,412 to 6,481, an additional 69 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS).
Wisconsin continues to be a national leader in COVID-19 vaccine administration. As of March 5:
• 1.6 million doses administered
• 17.6 percent of Wisconsin’s population (over 1,000,000) has received their first dose
• 9.8 percent of Wisconsin’s population (over 572,000) has completed their series
• 59.8 percent of people age 65 or older (over 600,000) have received their first dose
• 29.2 percent (almost 300,000) of people age 65 or older have completed their two-dose series
Our goal is 80 percent of the population will complete their series
Wisconsin currently ranks third in the nation in percentage of doses administered (94 percent compared to national average of 80 percent) (NY Times)
Wisconsin ranks first among Upper Midwest states in total doses administered/100,000 population (25,778/100,000); 13th in the nation (CDC) (excluding territories, federal entities, D.C.)
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has announced that in addition to the numerous resources available on the DHS COVID-19 vaccine page, Wisconsinites can now call (844) 684-1064 (toll-free) for personal assistance with their vaccine-related questions.
The new call center is equipped to help people find vaccine locations, answer medical questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, and assist with registration, including but not limited to providers using the Wisconsin COVID-19 vaccine registry.
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what CDC knows about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
People are considered fully vaccinated:
• two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
• two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If it has been less than two weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:
• You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
• You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
As of Tuesday, March 9, there are 3,389 cases of the three COVID-19 variants in the United States, up 256 over the past week. Those are the United Kindom (B.1.1.7), South African (B.18.104.22.168), and Brazil (P.1) variants.
Variant B.1.1.7 was first discovered circulating widely in England during November and December of 2020. Based on epidemiologic and modeling studies, researchers believe that this new strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.
There are 3,283 cases of the United Kingdom variant in 46 states and territories, an increase of 246 cases. As of Tuesday, Mar.9, there are 26 confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant in Wisconsin, up from six the Sunday before. There are 85 confirmed cases in Illinois, 78 confirmed cases in Minnesota, 437 confirmed cases in Michigan, and 20 confirmed cases in Iowa. Michigan remains second in the nation for UK variant cases in the last week, exceeded only by Florida with 689 cases.
Variant B.1.351 was first discovered to be circulating in South Africa in samples dating back to October 2020. According to epidemiologic and modeling studies, researchers have found that this new strain, similar to B.1.1.7, spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. It is not yet known if this variant has any impact on disease severity. There is some evidence to suggest that this variant may affect how some antibodies respond to the virus.
On March 4,the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and laboratory partners identified a second variant strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in Wisconsin. There is some evidence to suggest that this variant may affect how some antibodies respond to the virus. Preliminary evidence suggests that the Moderna vaccine may be less effective against this variant, but studies are ongoing.
There are 91 cases of the South Africa variant in 17 states, including two in the state of Illinois, and now one in Southeast Wisconsin. This is an increase of 10 cases. The other cases are one in Florida, three in California, three in Georgia, one in Texas, one in New York, 13 in Maryland, five in Massachusetts, two in Connecticut, five in Washington, one in Pennsylvania, three in North Carolina, one in Tennessee, 11 in Virginia, one in Delaware, 32 in South Carolina, one in Nevada, one in Washington D.C., one in Maine, and two in Idaho.
Variant P.1 was first discovered in four travelers from Brazil who were tested at an airport near Tokyo, Japan in early January. According to epidemiologic and modeling studies, researchers have found that this new strain, similar to B.1.1.7, spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. However, this variant has unique mutations that may affect the ability of antibodies, generated through previous COVID-19 infection or through vaccination, to recognize and fight off the virus. There are now 15 cases of the Brazil variant in the U.S. in nine states (an increase of five) – five in Florida, two in New Jersey, one in Maryland, one in Illinois, two in Minnesota, one in Ohio, one in Oregon, one in Arkansas, and one in Oklahoma.
Crawford Countysaw one new case and antigen-probable cases, increasing to 1,695. The number of deaths remained at 17.
The Crawford County Public Health Department will be holding COVID-19 testing events twice a week on Mondays, 11 a.m. – 12 noon and Fridays, 9-10 a.m. at the Crawford County Administration Building parking lot, 225 N. Beaumont Rd. Prairie du Chien, WI 53821. All tests must be scheduled in advance. Call the Crawford County Public Health Department at 608-326-0229 to schedule an appointment. There is no cost to participate.
Vernon Countysaw an increase of 12 cases in the last week, increasing to 1,847. The number deaths increased by two to 41.
Vernon County Health Department staff is currently working on identifying those that would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To register, go to: https://hipaa.jotform.com/210076025290142
Richland Countysaw an increase of five cases, increasing to 1,293. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to 15.
Upcoming COVID-19 testing events in the county will be held as follows: Richland County Fairgrounds, 23630 County AA, Richland Center, Mondays 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and Thursdays 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Monroe Countysaw an increase of 16 cases in the last week, going from 4,278 to 4,294. The number of deaths in the county remained at 31.
LaCrosse Countysaw an increase in new cases of 59, going from 12,232 to 12,291. The number of deaths increased by two to 80.Grant Countyhas seen an increase of 20 cases in the last week, going from 4,678 to 4,698. The number of deaths in the county increased by one to 81.