Wisconsin braces for increasing covid cases - Paycheck

Wisconsin braces for increasing covid cases

   Just when Wisconsinites began to feel the safest they have in over a year, covid infections in the state began rapidly rising again. This is in large part due to the Delta variant of the virus.

   “All counties in Wisconsin have high case activity and Milwaukee County has very high activity,” said Jennifer Miller, a member of the communications team with Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

   Cases in Rock County, in south-central Wisconsin, are also increasing after the county experienced a decline through June and mid-July. Earlier this year, an average of one person tested positive each day in Rock County; now the average number of daily positive tests is over 20. The county has almost 17,000 confirmed cases as of August 10.

   “With the increase in the number of people testing positive for covid-19, the concern about the Delta variant, and updated mask guidance from the CDC, we are recommending that everyone in Rock County, even people who are vaccinated, wear a mask in indoor public spaces,” said Katrina Harwood, health officer/director with the Rock County Public Health Department.

   Testing numbers are increasing because people are either being exposed to the virus or they are experiencing symptoms. For every positive test result received, Miller said experts suspect there are plenty more cases out there.

   “In addition to giving us an accurate view of the spread of the virus, people who are tested should quarantine while waiting for their results, and isolate if the test is positive to help stop the spread of the virus,” Miller said.

   As of August 10, 52.8 percent of Wisconsin residents have received at least one dose of the covid vaccine while 59.2 percent of Rock County residents have received at least one dose. The percentage of Wisconsin residents fully vaccinated is 49.8 percent while 58.4 percent of Rock County residents are fully vaccinated. Local and state officials continue to push for increased vaccination rates, saying that’s the best way to stay safe.

   “Studies indicate that the vaccines are effective in preventing severe illness and death due to covid-19,” Harwood said. “Getting vaccinated is the most effective avenue we have for returning to a sense of normal.”

   In addition to getting vaccinated, both Harwood and Miller recommend following guidance from the CDC suggesting all people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks when in indoor public spaces. Practicing good health hygiene by masking, washing hands frequently and thoroughly and covering coughs and sneezes are also good techniques to remember.

   “We don’t have a crystal ball that will tell us what the future holds, but we’ll be in a much better place going into the fall if people take the steps to protect themselves, their families and their communities by following this advice,” Miller said.

   Harwood noted concerns about safety with the upcoming school year.

   “Getting vaccinated and wearing masks indoors are critical as we approach back to school,” she said. “We want to keep kids in the classroom and are therefore strongly recommending that masks be worn in school settings.”

Mary Hookham

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