COVID-19 numbers continue to fall in Door, Kewaunee counties, but ‘stealth omicron’ virus causes caution
The number of positive tests for the COVID-19 virus continue to drop in Door and Kewaunee counties and across Wisconsin, although health experts continue to urge caution because of the detection of another variant of the virus in the state.
Over the two weeks from Jan. 24 to Feb. 7, Door County reported 201 new cases according to Wisconsin Department of Health Services figures, plummeting from the 698 reported across the two preceding weeks, while Kewaunee County reported 248 cases in that time compared to 352 in the two weeks before.
The drop in local cases mirrors the statistics being reported statewide by the DHS. After the recent surge, driven by the omicron variant of the virus, saw a peak of 38,436 new cases reported Jan. 16, the numbers have fallen dramatically since, with 1,935 cases reported Feb. 7.
And while the DHS still rates all of Wisconsin's 72 counties with "critically high" levels of COVID-19 activity for the two-week period from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1, those ratings appear to be driven mostly by each county's burden, the number of positive cases per 100,000 people in the county in that period. The DHS figures show a burden of 1,943 for Door County and 1,550 for Kewaunee County in that period.
The other factor considered in the activity ratings is the county's trajectory, the rate of change in the number of positive cases over the given timeframe, and both Door and Kewaunee counties show shrinking trajectories, with a 59% decline reported for Door County and a 49% drop in Kewaunee County.
In fact, five Wisconsin counties were reported to have no significant change in their trajectories in that period while all others showed shrinking trajectories, while the activity ratings for Dec. 29 to Jan. 11 reported three counties with no significant change in trajectory, three shrinking, while all 66 other counties showed a growing trajectory.
However, the omicron-fueled surge saw the number of positive cases grow far higher than they'd been with previous COVID-19 viruses, and even with the current plunge the number of new cases each week is still at levels not seen in about a year in Door and Kewaunee counties.
And it's still unclear what the effect will be of the appearance of the "stealth omicron," a subvariant first detected in South African in late 2021 and now spread to 67 countries and at least 30 U.S. states so far, including within the past week in Wisconsin.
The subvariant, technically called BA.2, is reported to be about 1.5 times more contagious than its predecessor but may cause less severe health problems, although information is still in the early stages. A number of health experts have said it is likely to become the dominant strain of the virus.
However, early indicators are that current COVID-19 vaccines are effective against "stealth omicron." DHS data shows in the two weeks from Jan. 24 to Feb. 7, 34 first doses of the vaccine were administered to Kewaunee County residents, compared to 212 in the two preceding weeks, while Door County residents received 67 first doses in that time compared to 124 in the two weeks before.
Health officials and doctors continue to stress that getting vaccinated and practicing other public health protocols, like wearing face masks, especially N95 or KN95 masks or masks with some sort of filtration system, remains the best option for people to stay well and slow the spread of the virus. Statistics continue to show that vaccinated people who do contract the virus are far less likely to be hospitalized because of it than unvaccinated people.
Appointments are required for COVID-19 vaccines given by the Kewaunee County Public Health Department, which gives the shots Tuesdays and Fridays for ages 5 and older (boosters for ages 12 and older) at its office. The department also is open to giving vaccinations on location at local businesses, work sites or farms. For appointments or more information, call 920-388-7160.
For appointments or more information on vaccine clinics offered throughout Door County by the Door County Public Health Department, call 920-746-7180 or visit bookdcph.timetap.com or co.door.wi.gov and click on the "COVID-19 Vaccine and Updates" bar at the top of the homepage.
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FOR MORE DOOR COUNTY NEWS: Check out our homepage
Statistics as of Feb. 7 (provided by the county and state health departments) are as follows:
Positive tests (includes probable cases):
- Kewaunee County, 248 over two weeks
- Door County, 201 over two weeks
Negative tests in past two weeks:
- Kewaunee, 268
- Door, 343
Percentage of positive tests in past two weeks (positivity rate):
- Kewaunee, 48.1%, up from 39.1%
- Door, 20.6%, down from 58.8%
Total positive tests:
- Kewaunee, 5,750, one in every 3.6 residents
- Door, 6,818, one in every 4.4 residents
Total negative tests:
- Kewaunee, 13,065
- Door, 20,575
Cumulative positivity rate since testing began:
- Kewaunee, 29.3%
- Door, 21.1%
Deaths from COVID-19 complications:
- Kewaunee, 47, two in past two weeks
- Door, 46, two in past two weeks
Hospitalizations from the virus over past two weeks:
- Kewaunee, 1
- Door, 16
Total vaccines given:
- Kewaunee (including other providers besides health department), 10,634 (52.2%) received at least one dose, 10,247 (50.3%) completed their series
- Door (including other providers besides health department), 21,796 (78.2%) received at least one dose, third-highest percentage in state (Dane 81.8%, Menominee 79.5%), 20,384 (73.1%) completed their series, third-most in state (Dane 76.9%, Menominee 75%)
- Wisconsin, 3,700,360 (63.4%) at least one dose, 3,447,247 (59.6%) completed their series
Vaccine doses given in past two weeks:
- Kewaunee, 34 first doses, 74 completed
- Door, 67 first doses, 133 completed their series
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected]
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: COVID-19 numbers continue to fall in Door, Kewaunee counties, but 'stealth omicron' virus causes caution