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COVID-19 infections are dwindling across much of the United States — including Wisconsin — but highly contagious variants of the virus continue to spread in pockets of the country with low vaccination rates.
Examples include Smith County, Tennessee, where just 20% of people are fully vaccinated and COVID-19 hospitalizations have soared by nearly 700% over the past two weeks, Jesus Jiménez reports for The New York Times. And just 23% are fully vaccinated in Trousdale, Tennessee, where COVID-19 hospitalizations have skyrocketed by more than 700% during that stretch.
COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continue to trend downward in Wisconsin, where 43.4% of residents had completed the vaccine series as of Wednesday, with Dane County (60%), Door County (59.6%), Bayfield County (54.3%) and Iowa County (51.3%) leading the way.
Wisconsin’s lowest full vaccination rates are in: Taylor (25.4%), Clark (25.5%), Rusk (28.7%) and Waushara (31.3%) counties. Those counties are not seeing surges like Tennessee. Infections have remained flat or continued to decrease in recent days.
In the U.S., hospitalizations are rising in areas with low vaccination rates — The New York Times
COVID-19 cases plummeting in Milwaukee but health officials say variants pose a threat to the unvaccinated — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Wisconsin Legislature to vote on ending extra unemployment — Associated Press
Hope, optimism abound as Stateline Area continues to reopen, rebound — Beloit Daily News
No more masks required in Janesville public schools — Janesville Gazette
Rock County Courthouse plans to encourage, but no longer require, masks — Janesville Gazette
Wisconsin lawmaker compares museum’s mask policy to Nazis — Associated Press
Laborfest cancelled for second year due to pandemic concerns — Kenosha News
Data to note
Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Wednesday that 48.7% of Wisconsinites have received at least one vaccine dose, including 83.7% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 43.4% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 79.8% of those older than 65. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents.
On Wednesday, the state DHS reported a seven-day average of 125 new daily infections, continuing a long-term downward trend in new cases. The state also reported 11 new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the full toll to 7,189.
This Wisconsin Hospital Association reported that 170 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide as of Tuesday.
Find a vaccine site near you
DHS and the federal government have partnered with Vaccine Finder to help Wisconsinites find vaccinations. Vaccinations are often by appointment, but providers are increasingly offering walk-in options. In addition, people seeking COVID-19 shots can text their ZIP code to 438829 to find nearby vaccine providers.
Not sure if something you heard about COVID-19 is true? FactCheck.org offers this page full of explainers — and debunking of common distortions — about the disease to help you sort out fact from fiction.
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