COVID-19 update: Door, Kewaunee counties see sharp rise in positive rates even as vaccines increase
While COVID-19 vaccines continue to roll out across Door and Kewaunee counties in increasing numbers, also increasing — once again — is the rate of positive tests for the virus, and that has health officials warning residents that they need to continue their previous efforts to protect themselves and others to avoid additional spread.
The contrasting statistics are especially apparent in Door County, where 41.3% of its population has received at least one dose of the two-dose vaccines — the second-highest percentage among the state's 72 counties, behind Bayfield's 43.5% — and almost a quarter of its residents (6,713 people, or 24.3%) have received the full dosage, the sixth-highest percentage in Wisconsin.
And, more doses are on the way as the Door County Public Health Department announced that it will begin to get the recently approved single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, joining the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech. Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced Tuesday that anyone ages 16 and older can get vaccinated beginning Monday, April 5. Plus, seven pharmacy chains will now be allowed to administer the vaccines, including CVS, which will offer the shots at its Sturgeon Bay location.
However, after seven straight weeks with a percentage of positive tests over a seven-day period hanging around 10%, the rate in Door County jumped to 23% for the week from March 16 to 22 and 19.3% between March 23 and 29. The rate in Kewaunee County also jumped to 15.6% for the past week after ranging from 4% to 10% in each of the past five weeks.
The percentage of positive tests, also known as the positivity rate, over a given time is a metric used by many health organizations to gauge the spread of the virus in a community, and the World Health Organization has said that a rate of more than 5% is concerning because it means testing isn’t widespread enough to capture the spread of the virus among the general population.
Another metric used by the state health department to gauge community spread of the coronavirus is the number of positive tests in each county per 100,000 residents over a given time, and those numbers also have been on the increase in Door and Kewaunee counties.
Door County's seven-day positives-per-100,000 number more than doubled from the week of March 9 to 15 to March 16 to 22, from 40 to 94. The past week's number was 156. In each week, that figure ranked third-most among the state's 72 counties, and it was the second-highest total in the state for the 14-day time frame.
The seven-day figure in Kewaunee County also shot up for the past week, from five the week before to 44.
Because of the recent spike, the Door County Health and Human Services Department issued a statement reminding people that the vaccines aren't going to stop the spread of the coronavirus all by themselves.
"Door County has seen a slight increase in positive cases of COVID-19 this week, reminding us that we must remain diligent in our efforts," the statement said. "Vaccination is only one tool in fighting this pandemic. We must also continue to practice all the good pandemic practices such as masking, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and frequent hand washing. We are making gains on this virus, but it is not time to let down our guard."
On the vaccine front, the Door County health department now has opened its online scheduling system, as announced last week, and is allowing those eligible for the vaccine to schedule themselves for a limited number of appointments each week. To schedule a vaccination, visit bookdcph.timetap.com; those who do not have access to internet, need assistance or have other questions can call 920-746-7180.
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Statistics as of Monday, March 22 (provided by the county and state health departments) are as follows:
Positive tests in past week (March 16-22):
- Kewaunee County, 9, six more than previous week
- Door County, 41, 12 more than previous week
Negative tests in past week:
- Kewaunee, 48
- Door, 171
Seven-day percentage of positive tests (positivity rate):
- Kewaunee, 15.8% (6.5% the week before)
- Door, 19.3% (was 23%)
- Wisconsin, 2.8%
Cumulative positivity rate since testing began:
- Kewaunee, 21.6%
- Door, 17.7%
Positive tests per 100,000 residents over past week:
- Kewaunee, 44, tied for 38th among state's 72 counties
- Door, 156, 3rd in state
Deaths from COVID-19 complications:
- Kewaunee, 34, none in past 10 weeks
- Door, 21, none in past week
Hospitalizations from the virus in past week:
- Kewaunee, 2
- Door, none
- Kewaunee, 11 (was 7 as of March 22);
- Door, 104 (was 73)
- Kewaunee, 2,512
- Door, N/A
Total vaccines given:
- Kewaunee (including other providers besides health department), 5,240 (25.6%) received at least one dose, 3,348 (16.4%) both doses
- Door (including other providers besides health department), 11,416 (41.3%) received at least one dose, 6,713 (24.3%) both doses
- Wisconsin, 1,726,519 (29.7%) at least one dose, 1,013,613 (17.4%) both doses
Vaccines given in past week:
- Kewaunee, 491 first doses, 701 second doses
- Door, 913 first doses, 988 second doses
Vaccines requested and received by the county health departments for this week:
- Kewaunee, N/A
- Door, 1,200 requested, 676 received
People on waiting list:
- Kewaunee, N/A
- Door, no longer keeping a list
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: COVID-19 update: Door, Kewaunee counties see sharp rise in positive rates even as vaccines increase