The daily number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin hit its lowest level in six months, with 308 newly confirmed cases reported Monday by the state Department of Health Services.
Monday’s case count continues a downward trend of positive cases, as the seven-day average of positive cases hit 610, a nearly five-fold decrease from an early January spike of nearly 3,000 new cases per week.
Deaths due to COVID-19 are generally trending downward, though not as sharply as cases. The seven-day average of deaths was 18 as of Monday — altogether, a total of 6,412 deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported in the state.
As the number of positive cases and deaths decreases, the number of those vaccinated against the virus continues to rise. As of Monday, a total of 1,436,450 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, according to state data. Of that total, 492,074, or 8.5% of Wisconsin residents, have completed the vaccine series, meaning they have received the two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines needed for greatest efficacy. There are 912,429 residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Monday also marked an expansion of groups eligible to receive the vaccine, including teachers and child care workers, as well as public-facing essential workers like bus drivers and grocery store workers.
“Based on our current pace, and with increases in the federal vaccine supply, opening up eligibility to groups of people with higher risk of exposure gets us one step closer to bouncing back from this pandemic,” said DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timblerlake in a news release.
DHS launched an online COVID-19 vaccine provider map Friday. The agency is also hoping a COVID-19 vaccine registry, planned for an early March launch, will serve as a central resource for Wisconsin residents to find available vaccines in their area.
Milwaukee Public Schools has set up multiple dedicated locations for educators to go get vaccinated.
In Dane County, SSM Health will deliver vaccine supplies to Sun Prairie and Waunakee district staff at a clinic outside the Alliant Energy Center.
However, the overall vaccine supply allocated to the state has some questioning how quickly the new eligibility group can hope to get a vaccine.