Dr. Sheryl Henderson of UW Health receives her COVID-19 vaccine from athletic trainer Ashlee Smith in December. Reluctance to get the vaccine extends to the health care profession, though a UW Health official called it a "very small percentage." Credit: John Maniaci / UW Health
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Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Wisconsin has identified its second case of the more contagious B117 strain of the coronavirus that was first found in England during the fall, the state Department of Health Services said Tuesday. 

This time it was flagged in Waukesha County, David Wahlberg reports for the Wisconsin State Journal. A patient in Eau Claire County tested positive for the variant last month

“We are able to sequence a small proportion of tests collected, which means, in reality, there are likely many more cases of this variant in Wisconsin,” Dr. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer in the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases, said in a statement. “Wisconsinites must continue to be vigilant to stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, staying home, washing their hands, and getting vaccinated when they are able.”

Top Stories 

Dr. Sheryl Henderson of UW Health receives her COVID-19 vaccine from athletic trainer Ashlee Smith in December. Reluctance to get the vaccine extends to the health care profession, though a UW Health official called it a “very small percentage.” Credit: John Maniaci / UW Health

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What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatch.org.

Quotable

“I would say the biggest risk we have right now is that we have a lot of people who are just tired of COVID … and it’s tempting to declare it’s over. COVID is not over.” 

— Wisconsin Department of Health Services Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake, as quoted by WPR

Data to note

Wisconsin is among states that lack ability to track COVID-19 reinfections, a DHS spokeswoman confirmed to Wisconsin Watch on Monday.

“In general, the labs no longer have the patients’ previous specimens (e.g., from 90+ days ago), so we have not been able to confirm any cases of COVID-19 reinfection so far,” spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said in an email. 

A Kaiser Health News story this week examined why the country may be underestimating reinfections from the virus. 

DHS continues to log fewer daily infections, with average daily cases now dipping below 1,000. Still, the agency reports a seven-day average of 22 new daily deaths. Wisconsin’s pandemic death toll now sits at 6,094. 

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed. 

WisContext offers this visualization of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections and deaths.

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DHS offers this snapshot of the state’s progress in administering vaccines. The state has thus far delivered at least one vaccine dose to 10.3% of the entire population, according to tracking by The New York Times.  

Calculate your exposure risk

In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org

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The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.