An increase in COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin this week likely stems from the more contagious delta variant of coronavirus and exacerbates the need for unvaccinated residents to get shots, health officials said Friday.
“They are at risk if the delta variant takes hold, which it is likely to do,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, deputy secretary of the state Department of Health Services.
The health department began making vaccination data available online after the census and school district, not just by county as before. It can help local organizers focus on areas with low penetration, such as many rural areas in the state and neighborhoods in cities like Beloit, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine, Willems Van Dijk said.
About 50.7% of the nationwide population and 69.2% in Dane County have received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 47.9% across the country and 66% in the county are fully vaccinated, which officials say provides good protection against the delta variant, which was first identified in India.
State officials said the shots generally work well, with only 1,811 cases of COVID-19 this year or 1% of more than 145,000 cases in total among the 2.8 million residents who are fully vaccinated as of Thursday. Since March, there have been 24 COVID-19 deaths among fully vaccinated people and 442 among those who were not there.