MADISON, Wisconsin (WMTV) – The day Wisconsin was to cross a new milestone for the number of new cases registered in the state, the Dept. removed. of Health Services this figure from its COVID-19 dashboard.
On Wednesday, the now-removed cumulative case-by-case graph set the state only 77 cases away from having exceeded the 1.4 million limit for cases confirmed since the pandemic began. That threshold was reached on Thursday when the new daily report registered 814 cases. While NBC15 News has only relied on the confirmed cases ‘targets for consistency throughout the pandemic, DHS’ other similar metric, which includes confirmed and probable cases, also peaked at 1.5 million on Thursday.
The graph that shows the total number of deaths from COVID-19 or complications related to the virus have also been eliminated. As of Thursday, that number rose by three to 12,854 total deaths.
Although these figures, and others listed below, are no longer displayed on the COVID-19 statistics main pages, they are still available on the DHS website in the form of downloadable spreadsheets, which include all measurements recorded by the Agency. indicated by date.
Vaccination holes Narrow
A metric that reappeared in this latest report, COVID-19 compares infections, hospitalizations, and deaths of vaccinated and unvaccinated people in Wisconsin. The recently released figures show that these differences have decreased significantly in the three months that have passed since the Agency last published these figures.
In fact, the difference between the two groups for the number of new cases per per capita almost eliminated. Whereas when COVID-19 cases began to rise in December, an unvaccinated person was three times more likely to get the virus than a person who completed their first series, now the difference has dropped to just five percent.
The other two categories, hospitalizations and deaths, have also dropped markedly; however, there are still notable gaps between them. The differences in deaths, which previously stood at 14 to 1, now stand at just over three to one. An unvaccinated person is also approximately 2.5 times more likely to end up in the hospital than a person who is considered fully vaccinated.
State health officials attributed the narrowing differences to the Omicron variant, saying they expect to see more fully vaccinated people testing positive as a result of the mutation, but added that today’s vaccines still protect against serious COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths from variant.
The charts provided by DHS only compare fully vaccinated individuals and those who are not fully vaccinated. They do not track whether the fully vaccinated have received booster shots. To be considered fully vaccinated, someone would have had to complete their first series and wait two weeks afterwards.
Currently, the agency reports that 60.9% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated. Dane Co. still leads the state in vaccination rates with more than three-quarters of the population completing their series.
The fact that DHS has not released these figures since January makes it unclear when the gaps began to narrow. The previous report covered December, while Thursday’s figures combined the last three months. The lack of independent figures for January, February and March makes it harder to trace whether the differences fell as overall case numbers collapsed, whether it matched the change in dominant variants, or whether it is an even more recent trend. NBC15 News had asked about the lack of updates, which usually come in the middle of the month, during the course and was told that it happened due to technical problems with the data. In a statement announcing the changes to their COVID-19 dashboard, DHS indicated that it would return for monthly updates, which will now be released on the 20th of each month.
More new cases
The more than 800 cases reported in the last 24 hours pressed the rolling seven-day average to 729 cases per day. This figure remains inflated by an increase in cases reported late last week, caused by the agency clearing another backlog of positive tests.
Thursday’s report is expected to be the last day that the measurement, which evens out daily volatility and the health authorities use to track trends, will be affected by this increase. However, the rolling average has risen throughout the week, even after extra cases have stopped being added, indicating that the average is rising regardless of the cases. The last two days have seen the highest single days since the end of February, except last Friday when the last of the old cases were recognized.
The changing dashboard
By highlighting the myriad of changes that took effect Wednesday for its dashboard, DHS officials focused on replacing its COVID-19 Disease Activity Dashboard with a health official who says is more in line with metrics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The changes include shifts from its own disease activity classification system to CDC levels.
As such, when the agency released the latest weekly statistics on Wednesday, Buffalo Co. using its classification system the first county in several weeks to fall into the Very High category, with Dane Co. just barely below this threshold. 61 counties registered as High and the remaining 10 were considered as medium. Now, with the CDC system in place, all counties are listed as Low, except for Buffalo Co., which is now Medium.
The removal of the Disease Activity Dashboard page also means that the new CDC card now lives on the Agency’s Overview pagewhich contains daily numbers on the top line.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, we continually adapt to change and highlight the data and information that are most useful for individuals and families to use to protect their own health, and for our partners to use to to make informed decisions for their communities “, said Karen Timberlake, appointed by the DHS Secretary in a statement announces the changes.
In this statement, DHS detailed all the visualizations that no longer exist on their COVID-19 dashboard, including: (list provided by DHS)
- Graphs showing cumulative counts
- Percentage of COVID-19 cases living in group housing
- Percentage of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by group housing
- Number of COVID-19 public health surveys throughout the institution
- COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by provider type
- Map of COVID-19 cases and deaths by county, census, municipality, school district and postcode
- Map of COVID-19 vaccinations by county, census, municipality, school district and postcode
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