COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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COVID-19 infection rates are on the rise in the Milwaukee area and the rest of Wisconsin, however Experts say we are unlikely To see the type of widespread infections and hospitalizations seen over the past three summers.

Hospital admissions for the coronavirus have been increasing in Wisconsin every week since mid-July, in a sign that infection rates are also on the rise, according to the Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 140 patients with the coronavirus were admitted to a Wisconsin hospital in the week ending Aug. 12, an increase of 32% from the previous week when there were 106 new admissions, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

That returns the state to similar hospitalization rates seen in May this year, but far from anything seen last year, when 400 to 700 coronavirus patients each week were hospitalized last summer and winter, according to the CDC. .

Center for Disease Control estimates 5, nicknamed “iris,” is now the dominant strain of coronavirus, accounting for about 20% of infections over a two-week period in August. Other common strains now in circulation include the XBB strain.

Milwaukee County surveillance data also shows coronavirus cases She is on the rise in the province, although it is not clear how large.

Wisconsin’s chief medical officer, Dr. Ryan Vestergaard, said in an interview that the number of cases no longer gives a good picture of the extent of the spread of the Corona virus in society. Wednesday briefing with reporters.

This is because most people with the virus are now testing themselves at home or not getting tested at all. Most people who take the test do not report results.

Health officials now rely largely on hospitalization data for coronavirus and wastewater testing to gauge the extent of coronavirus in the community.

Earlier this summer, hospitalizations for the coronavirus reached their lowest level in Wisconsin since the pandemic began.

Experts say summer increases in future COVID-19 cases should be expected

It’s important to remember that increases in coronavirus cases, as we’re seeing this summer, are part of the “new normal,” experts say. Coronavirus infections tend to rise in the summer because people gather in large groups or close together indoors to escape the heat.

“Every summer since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a summer surge of different magnitudes. So, I’m actually not surprised to see that happening now,” said Leslie Waller, an epidemiologist with the Department of Health. He told Tennessee earlier this month. “Especially after a very hot period when people were spending a lot of time indoors, without opening the windows.”

Recent weather events across the country — such as air quality problems and a heat wave in Wisconsin — have caused indoor gatherings to increase this summer.

In addition, Americans are getting tested for the coronavirus less frequently, which means they are more likely to unknowingly carry the virus before attending gatherings or traveling. Judy Guest saidProfessor and deputy chair of the department of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

In addition, behaviors that were handled with caution a year or two ago, such as eating inside restaurants, are becoming normal again, said Dr. Daniel Griffin, an infectious disease specialist and clinical instructor at Columbia University in New York City.

While the coronavirus is unlikely to ever completely go away, vaccines, antiviral drugs, masks and other protective tools, along with improved care for patients, have turned an urgent crisis into a manageable disease. Experts say.

“I think the message is that COVID-19 is here to stay,” said Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer. “It can still cause serious illness, but we have more tools than ever before to help people stay healthy and safe.”

Westergaard urged people to get vaccinated to protect against the coronavirus and other respiratory diseases before fall.

A new vaccine for COVID-19 is expected to be available in September 2023

A new COVID-19 vaccine designed to protect against new strains of the virus is expected to be available in September.

Westergaard recommended that people at very high risk of severe disease from coronavirus, such as the elderly and those with severely immunocompromised, consider getting a coronavirus vaccine booster now and not wait, if it’s been a long time since they’ve had a booster. Or you have never had a coronavirus booster.

“Especially now that we are seeing an increase in the number of cases and disease activity,” he said. “You don’t want to be unprotected if you can help it.”

For others, he recommended waiting until the new coronavirus booster is available, perhaps next month.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department provides free coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in the outpatient clinic every week. No appointment is required, and booster doses are available to anyone who qualifies.

The clinic is open from 3-6pm on Mondays and 1-4pm on Tuesdays at Southside Health Centre, 1639S. 23rd Street and from 3-6 p.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday at the Northwest Health Center. 7630 W. Mill Rd.

Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, which includes several clinics on Milwaukee’s south side and serves people who are primarily Medicaid covered or uninsured, said Dr. Pamela Wilson, vice president of medical affairs, also has coronavirus vaccines and tests available for free. However, she said, the clinic may charge a fee for the visit.

“We never want ability to pay to be a barrier to health care,” she said. “We will always work with people.”

more: Covid rates are on the rise. Now, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found a way to recycle face masks.

USA Today Karen Weintraub And Adriana Rodriguez and Nashville Tennessee Frank Gluck contributed to this report.

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