The number of counties with “critically high” levels of coronavirus activity increased this week, still including Rusk, Barron and Washburn counties while adding Chippewa, Sawyer and Polk counties in northwestern Wisconsin.
There were 21 counties in the state with critically high case level activity of COVID-19 between Sept. 15-28, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. This compares with eight counties at the highest level of case activity between Sept. 8-21.
Statewide, case activity is ranked as “very high.”
Rusk County Public Health reported 37 new cases of the illness over the weekend. There have now been 1,937 cases since the first confirmed case was reported April 3, 2020.
County health reported four new hospitalizations on Monday, bringing the overall total during the entire pandemic to 154 individuals.
There have been 31 total deaths in the county linked with COVID-19.
As of Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Ladysmith School District reported seven active cases among students with three at the elementary school, one at the middle school and three at the high school. The district reported five active cases among staff with one at the elementary school, three at the middle school and one at the high school. Quarantined are 34 at the elementary, 33 at the middle and 11 at the high school.
State officials reported a below-average number of coronavirus cases were identified over the weekend. According to DHS, the state is averaging 2,508 cases per day over the past week. At the same time, the state saw more deaths from COVID-19, on average. Wisconsin’s 7-day average rose from 15 deaths per day on Friday to 17 on Monday.
Health officials credit vaccinations for the hospitalization and death rates coming down but blame the delta variant — which is the dominant COVID-19 variant — for making infected people much sicker. In August, the latest data available, 1.41 percent of the state’s unvaccinated or not completely vaccinated population tested positive for COVID-19 compared to 0.361 percent of the vaccinated population.
The vaccine series has been completed by 54 percent of all residents statewide compared with 35.6 percent in Rusk County.
The COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for individuals at least 12 years old. They are available in Rusk County at the following locations in Ladysmith: Prevea Health Center, Walmart and Marshfield Medical Center.