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A New Month, Continued Worries In Wisconsin About COVID-19

Health officials are again recommending the wearing of a face mask at indoor gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19.
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Health officials are again recommending the wearing of a face mask at indoor gatherings to limit the spread of COVID-19.

State health officials reported nearly 500 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin Monday, pushing the state's total during the pandemic to almost 623,000.

This continues the uptick in caseloads reported over the last few weeks. Ten thousand people in the state have become sick just since July 1.

While things are nowhere near as bad as during the COVID peak of last winter, Dr. Nasia Safdar of UW Health says she is concerned because hospitalizations are up.

For example, Advocate Aurora Health had 7 COVID inpatients in their Wisconsin hospitals in mid-July, and as of August 2, there are now 72.

Safdar acknowledges there hasn't been a surge of COVID-related deaths in the state. "That is true. I mean, I think there are a number of reasons for that. One is there's a lot of better supportive management, so a lot more information has come out on treatments available. But, having said that, the deaths will lag behind the hospitalizations, so it's something we'll closely monitor," she tells WUWM.

Safdar says the delta variant of the coronavirus remains a major worry, as does the lack of immunizations in Wisconsin. Only about half of state residents have gotten vaccinated. Conservative politicians continue to criticize vaccine requirements and want to highlight the small number of people who have had negative reactions to the drug.

READ: Health Officials Raise Concerns Over Sen. Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine Claims

Safdar says overall, the vaccine is very effective. "It's like anything else. You take a medication because chances are very high that it will help you. But it's not 100%. More often than not, it does what it's supposed to do. So, I would say, people should feel encouraged by how effective the vaccine is," she says.

For a specific example of the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Milwaukee Brewers announced Monday that star pitcher Josh Hader has tested positive for the coronavirus. He'll be in quarantine for ten days. Star outfielder Christian Yelich is already on the team's injured list, due to COVID.

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