COVID-19 in Wisconsin: 500,000 seniors have now received at least their first vaccine shot

More than 50 percent of the senior population in Wisconsin has now received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shot, as the state's rollout continues.

As of Saturday, 536,458 seniors have received their first shot and more than 15 percent of the state's total population has gotten at least one vaccine shot as well.

As the vaccine rollout continues, the state's seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases has remained fairly consistent, in the low 600s range. The average for deaths saw an uptick over the past eight days, with the state reporting three days with 30 or more deaths including 52 deaths on Thursday. The small spike followed two days of no new death reports on Sunday and Monday. Before that, there hadn't been a two-day stretch with no new death reports since September.

The pandemic so far

The state of Wisconsin said it has discovered a COVID-19 variant in a patient. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the strain, referred to as B.1.1.7, was identified in a Wisconsin patient Jan. 12.

COVID-19 infections can often go undetected and be asymptomatic; laboratory-confirmed tests only represent a fraction of actual COVID-19 cases. A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that actual cases in some instances were six to 24 times greater than reported cases.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced an indoor mask mandate for people over the age of 5, which he extended.  Face coverings while indoors except at a private residence have been required since Aug. 1. However, on February 4, the state's legislature voted to repeal Evers' order. That same day, Governor Evers issued a new mask mandate order, keeping the mandate in effect.

Evers extended the state's stay-at-home order until May 26, but on May 13, the state Supreme Court blocked the extension, effectively opening all establishments in the state. Hours later, images emerged of packed bars across the state, leading the Governor to call his state "The Wild West." Evers' original "Safer at Home" order went into effect on March 25. In October, a judge did however allow Evers' mask mandate to remain in effect.

On April 4, President Donald Trump approved a disaster declaration for Wisconsin due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration allows for federal funding to be allocated to state, tribal and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations that were impacted by the virus.

For more information, go to the state health department's website.

If you have questions or immediate needs related to COVID-19, you can Text COVID19 to 211-211, visit or call 211. Call volumes are high, so officials are asking people to be patient and try to use the text or online options first. 

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of COVID-19, health officials advise you to call your health care provider.