COVID cases up heading into Labor Day

By: - September 3, 2021 6:49 pm
COVID-19 mask spray painted in black on white wall

Adam Nieścioruk | Unsplash

Wisconsin COVID-19 infections were continuing to rise on the eve of a three-day weekend when families and friends often gather to mark the close of summer.

As of Friday, the state’s seven-day average for new cases stood at 1,702 per day, according to the latest update from the state Department of Health Services (DHS). 

Earlier in the week, the health department issued guidance ahead of the Labor Day weekend, urging Wisconsin residents to mask up, avoid indoor gatherings and adhere to other public health measures including frequent hand-washing, physical distancing and staying home when feeling sick.

“COVID-19 cases are rising in Wisconsin due to the more contagious Delta variant,” said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer in the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases. “People who are not yet fully vaccinated continue to make up the significant majority of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.”

Every measure of the pandemic is climbing. DHS reported Friday that on average 8% of COVID-19 tests a day are positive, mirroring the rate in mid-January. 

Hospitalizations have risen as well: The Wisconsin Hospital Association reported Friday that there were 978 COVID-19 patients in hospitals around the state, including 305 in intensive care. The seven-day average of deaths from the virus is now at eight per day.

The state’s vaccination rate is also climbing, but still slowly. As of Friday, DHS reported that 51.7% of all Wisconsin residents are fully vaccinated. 

DHS and Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday that a program awarding $100 gift cards to previously unvaccinated Wisconsin residents who get a first vaccination dose has been extended through Sept. 19. The reward program originally was to expire after the Labor Day weekend.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.