WI COVID-19 death rate up; 7-day average of new cases declines

COVID-19(WEAU 13 News)
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 2:55 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WEAU, WBAY) – Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death rate continued to edge upwards Wednesday as new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 continued to decline.

The state says the death toll is 5,562 after adding 50 people whose deaths are attributed to COVID-19. The 7-day average climbed to 45 deaths per day and the death rate is up to 1.06% of all known cases, a percentage we haven’t seen since October 2.

The deaths were in Barron, Brown (2), Chippewa (2), Clark, Dane (10), Fond du Lac, Iowa, Juneau, Kenosha (6), La Crosse, Lincoln, Marinette, Milwaukee (4), Monroe, Oneida (4), Ozaukee (2), Polk, Sauk, St. Croix, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha (6) counties.

There were 6,645 results for people being tested or testing positive for the coronavirus for the first time. 23% of these were positive, for 1,522 new cases. That’s below the 7-day average for positivity, which is 26%. The 7-day average for new cases is down to 1,808, the lowest average since September 22.

The DHS also tracks results for people tested multiple times, such as health care workers or patients being treated for COVID-19. By that measure, the positivity rate’s 7-day average continued its downward trend to 7.2% on Tuesday. That DHS calculation is a day behind because it’s based on preliminary numbers, including negative tests undergoing further review. Reporting one test per person, no matter how many times they’re tested, is considered a better indicator of the virus’s spread in the community (it’s how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compiles its own reports).

New cases were identified in 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. No positive tests were from Forest County, and the number of cases was revised in Richland County.

Wisconsin currently has 23,904 active cases (4.5% of all known cases) who were diagnosed or had the onset of symptoms in the last 30 days and haven’t been medically cleared. There are almost half a million (496,297) people who’ve recovered (94.4%). The state is closing in on 3 million people tested for the coronavirus (2,976,446) since the first patient was treated on February 5, 2020.


State vaccination data were not updated at the time of this writing. We’ll keep watching for updates. Tuesday the state reported almost a quarter of a million doses (248,185) of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered since mid-December. That data show 40,130 people have received their second and final dose -- an increase of 4,206 over Monday’s report. The numbers are preliminary for a few days as reports from vaccinators continue coming in.

The DHS now includes vaccination information by age and gender (CLICK HERE). The vaccine data page also lets you narrow down vaccinations per day by county or Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition (HERC) -- use the pulldown menu at the upper right corner of the graph at

Even before recommendations for the next phase of vaccinations are finalized, the state announced it’s opening up COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone 65 or older starting Monday, Jan. 25, as the vaccine supply allows. Although residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities were part of the first phase (phase 1a), state data show this is still an under-served age group, with 3.2% of senior adults (27,940 people) getting at least one vaccine dose so far. Only teens and young adults age 16-24 received fewer doses (13,061 people).

A DHS advisory committee may take up recommendations for phase 1b when it meets Thursday morning. Recommendations include older citizens, public-facing essential workers (e.g., teachers, child care workers), congregate living facilities (e.g., prisons, jails, mental health facilities, homeless shelters) and mink farms. There was an effort during the public comment period to include agriculture and grocery industries in phase 1B. The state also received a number of letters opposing vaccines for prisoners and mink farm workers at this early phase.


The DHS reported 119 hospitalizations for COVID-19 symptoms in the past 24 hours. A total 23,363 people have been hospitalized at some point in the past year for COVID-19, or 4.44% of all cases.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported 865 COVID-19 patients were currently being treated in hospitals, with 203 in intensive care. It marked six days in a row with fewer than 1,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on a given day, which hasn’t happened since October.

Hospital Readiness

The WHA also reported the state’s 134 hospitals have 232 ICU beds (18.9%) and 1,838 of all types of medical beds (16.5%) open -- that’s ICU, intermediate care, medical surgical and negative flow isolation.

WEDNESDAY’S COUNTY NUMBERS (Counties with new cases or deaths are indicated in bold) *

  • Barron – 4,929 cases (+16) (66 deaths) (+1)
  • Buffalo – 1,199 cases (+8) (7 deaths)
  • Chippewa – 6,560 cases (+17) (74 deaths) (+2)
  • Clark – 3,018 cases (+14) (55 deaths) (+1)
  • Dunn – 3,876 cases (+12) (25 deaths)
  • Eau Claire – 10,177 cases (+44) (92 deaths)
  • Jackson - 2,507 cases (+7) (20 deaths)
  • La Crosse – 11,163 cases (+61) (68 deaths) (+1)
  • Monroe – 3,882 cases (+15) (28 deaths) (+1)
  • Pepin – 758 cases (+2) (7 deaths)
  • Pierce – 3,204 cases (+6) (32 deaths)
  • Polk – 3,426 cases (+12) (37 deaths) (+1)
  • Rusk - 1,202 cases (+5) (14 deaths)
  • Sawyer - 1,349 cases (+8) (17 deaths)
  • St. Croix – 5,903 cases (+20) (36 deaths) (+1)
  • Taylor - 1,714 cases (+4) (19 deaths)
  • Trempealeau – 3,215 cases (+9) (33 deaths)
  • Vernon – 1,677 cases (+7) (32 deaths)
  • Washburn – 1,167 cases (+8) (15 deaths)
  • Wood – 6,155 cases (+29) (63 deaths)

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