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COVID cases continue to rise in Wisconsin as known active variants double in the last week



MADISON, WIS – Counties across Wisconsin maintain a high level of COVID activity after activity declined earlier in the spring.

A map tracking COVID activity from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services showed only four counties with medium activity, down from more than 20 with low to medium activity in mid to late March. In addition, a county has risen back to a very high level after weeks with none in the deepest blue range.

The rising activity includes sequenced variants doubled from last week, when the UK and a California tribe dominated the number of nearly 600 active variants.

“It̵

7;s most likely part of the explanation for why cases are increasing in Wisconsin,” said DHS medical chief Dr. Ryan Westergaard in a press briefing on Tuesday. “We see more cases in younger people as a proportion of all our cases.”

A growing proportion of positive cases available for laboratory sequencing are highly transferable variants, explained Dr. Westergaard. In Michigan, he noted that an increase in sequenced variants preceded the increase in cases.

In Dane County, health officials also attribute some of this spread to variants, particularly the British variant, which is now seen as potentially the dominant COVID strain.

“We love watching the vaccination numbers continue,” said Katarina Grande, team data manager at Public Health Madison and Dane County. “We do not love so much when we see the number of cases increase.”

Cases are rising among the younger population, at youth sporting events and in remote communities around Madison, according to the latest weekly data highlights from the PHMDC. But there is also good news, Grande noted.

“We reached another milestone this week, where we have not seen a single case involving a long-term care facility in a cluster,” she said. “It hasn’t happened in a really long time.”




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