COVID-19 hospitalizations 4x higher across Wisconsin, 3x higher across Milwaukee County compared to last month

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Doctors worry we aren't too far from a fourth COVID-19 surge as cases and hospitalizations significantly increase across the state and country.

Past surges taught us that first we'll see cases spike, followed by an increase in hospitalizations and then deaths. Right now, doctors say Milwaukee is in the hospitalizations phase. 

"That's worth repeating. We have four times as many people hospitalized with COVID in Wisconsin as we did one month ago, from 74 individuals to 310 today," Dr. Ben Weston, an associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, said.


Most concerning to doctors like Weston is that more than 98 percent of those patients are unvaccinated people who could have prevented the severity of their case with two shots.

"If you're unlucky enough to have a breakthrough infection while vaccinated, you have a tenfold or greater reduction in risk of severe disease or death, as compared to someone who's unvaccinated," Weston said.

Dr. Scott Fenske with Aurora Health Care has this conversation with his patients every day.

"The benefits far outweigh the risks, and let's not put our family and our fellow people at a higher risk of being back in the hospital or losing them," Fenske said.

The COVID-19 vaccine remains the most effective way to slow the spread of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to doctors.

"The vaccination is doing what it's designed to do, which is prevent serious infections and hospitalizations," UW Health's Dr. Nasia Safdar said. "Without it, it is likely to be a rerun of last year.

Local health care systems aren't just emphasizing the importance of vaccines, they're also continuing to expand efforts to reach everyone where they are. Find out where you can get your shot using Vaccine Finder

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