(FOX 9) - More than 60 percent of Wisconsin seniors have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as the state moves past 1.5 million doses administered.
The milestones come as the seven-day average for new cases has fallen to its lowest level since late June. Saturday, Wisconsin reported only 206 new COVID-19 cases and just one death.
Along with new cases, the averages for death has also continued to creep down, standing at an average of 9 on Saturday. At its peak, the average was 61 per day in early December. Reported hospitalizations due to COVID-19 also continue to fall in the state. As of Saturday, 260 COVID-19 patients were being treated at Wisconsin hospitals with 77 in the ICU.
Wisconsin launched a website on March 3 to help people trying to get the COVID-19 vaccine get notified when they are eligible and to find appointments.
So far, the state has made vaccines available for seniors, frontline health care workers, and frontline essential workers including:
- Police and fire personnel, correctional staff
- Education and child care staff
- Individuals enrolled in Medicaid long-term care programs
- Some public-facing essential workers such as 911 operators, public transit, and grocery store employees
- Non-frontline essential health care personnel
- Facility staff and residents of congregate living settings
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 211Wisconsin.org 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.