Wisconsin COVID-19 cases and deaths rise to level last seen a year ago

NOW: Wisconsin COVID-19 cases and deaths rise to level last seen a year ago

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- We're back where we were almost a year ago in terms of new COVID-19 cases this week. With nearly 5,000 cases Tuesday, we're matching numbers from early December of 2020.

Deaths are as high as October right now as well.

Medical professionals said while the numbers are growing right now, and mandates could be in place if the trend continues, it isn't the same situation as last year.

"None of us expected COVID to go away. I think that’s what everybody hoped for, but at least in the medical community, this virus wasn't going to just disappear," said Dr. Mary Beth Graham, medical director of infection prevention at Froedtert Hospital.

She said while cases are up, it's different than it was in the past.

"Our hospitalization rates aren't quite as high as what we saw previously."

She said hospitalizations were nearly double the moving average this time last year.

"In terms of exactly who is getting infected, we're seeing a lot more younger and healthy individuals who are going positive," said Dr. Graham.

Doctors said it could be kids going back to school, people being inside more, COVID taking on a seasonal distribution, or new variants.

"When delta was going through Florida, Texas, we probably just didn't have quite as much of it here. It wasn't that we were better vaccinated or somehow more careful. I think now we do have delta," said Dr. Jeff Pothof, UW Health chief quality officer.

Dr. Pothof said vaccination is still key.

"We know the data is really clear on that, you know, unvaccinated people are multiple times more likely to get the disease," said Dr. Pothof.

In addition to that, they're over 10 times more likely to wind up in the hospital or die per hundred-thousand people, it's an issue doctors wish wasn't political.

"What we're seeing now is the majority of patients who are coming into the hospital again are unvaccinated," said Dr. Graham.

As far as action goes, if you've had your vaccine, they say to get your booster shot when you can, and get a flu shot as well to help keep you and your loved ones out of the hospital.

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