Wisconsin’s seven-day COVID-19 case average declined further Wednesday as the vaccine rollout continued.
The case average has been decreasing for about the past month following a post-Christmas bump and is on par with levels seen Sept. 9, when the massive autumn surge was getting underway.
The seven-day case average of 919 reported Wednesday is a 68% drop from a month ago.
Still, deaths from COVID-19 have not returned to pre-surge levels. The average daily death toll has remained steady around 25 for the last week. Before September, the death average was regularly in the single digits and only rose as high as 13.
The declining burden of disease in Wisconsin comes as health experts are warning a new surge is possible if the new, more contagious coronavirus variants take hold in the state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday recommended wearing a tight-fitting mask or two masks to reduce exposure to the virus variants.
“Cases of hospitalizations and deaths are still very high,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the CDC, at a White House coronavirus briefing. “Now is not the time to roll back mask requirements.”
The number of known coronavirus variant cases in the U.S. has surged 73% in the last week alone, according to CDC data.
The country now reports 944 cases of variants that spread more easily, bypass treatments and immunities, or both. Wisconsin health officials on Tuesday reported its second detected case of the variant first found in the U.K.
Nowhere has the increase been more noticeable than in Florida, which now has 343 cases of a fast-spreading variant — up from 201 cases reported during Sunday’s Super Bowl, which was hosted in Tampa. Florida now has more than twice as many known variant cases as any other state; California is a distant second.
Also Wednesday, Wisconsin reported about 37% of residents 65 and older had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or about 328,000 people.
Wisconsin ranks second in the country, behind Utah, in most doses administered daily per capita, according to CDC data.
In all, about 823,000 doses have been administered in the state and about 184,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine, according to state data.
Track COVID-19 in Wisconsin: See the latest data on cases and the vaccine rollout
How to interpret COVID-19 data: What experts say about positive cases, deaths and hospitalizations
New cases reported: 821
New deaths reported: 35
Number hospitalized: 489 (intensive care: 127); down 510 patients from one month ago
Seven-day average of daily cases: 919 (down 1,989 cases from one month ago)
Seven-day average of daily deaths: 25 (down 15 from one month ago)
Total cases since the start of pandemic: 551,871 (12,790 active cases)
Total deaths: 6,129
Total doses allocated: 1,152,025
Total doses administered: 822,910
Doses administered Tuesday: 24,588
People with both doses: 183,758
USA TODAY contributed to this report.
We want to remember the lives of those who died from COVID-19. Email us at email@example.com with the subject line “COVID-19 remembrance” or fill out this form if you’d like to share a loved one’s story with the Journal Sentinel.