The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today made a number of changes and updates to the COVID-19 data visualizations available on its website, aligning pages with the latest scientific recommendations from the CDC, including the CDC Community Levels, and providing a more streamlined data experience for visitors to the DHS COVID-19 data webpages. DHS supports CDC’s recommendation to use COVID-19 Community Levels as a tool to assess the current risk of COVID-19 to determine necessary prevention measures in counties across the state.
“DHS is committed to providing timely and relevant COVID-19 metrics on our website and in all of our communications,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we are continuously adapting to changes and highlighting the data and information that is most useful for individuals and families to use in safeguarding their own health, and for our partners to use to make informed decisions for their communities.”
DHS has also updated the COVID-19 Illness After Vaccination data page to include data for January, February, and March 2022. The updating of this data was delayed while DHS made improvements to the way data was gathered and stored in order to address technical difficulties. DHS plans to continue updating this data on a monthly basis, by the 20th of each month.
According to March 2022 Wisconsin data:
- People not fully vaccinated were diagnosed with COVID-19 at a rate 1.1x higher than people who were fully vaccinated
- People not fully vaccinated were hospitalized with COVID-19 at a rate 2.4x higher than people who were fully vaccinated
- People not fully vaccinated died from COVID-19 at a rate 3.4x higher than people who were fully vaccinated
Due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, we can expect a higher number of fully vaccinated people to test positive for COVID-19. However, current vaccines still protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death due to infection with the Omicron variant.
Along with adding the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Levels to the DHS website, DHS removed the COVID-19 Disease Activity dashboard. Additionally, DHS removed the following visualizations:
- Graphs showing cumulative counts
- Percent of COVID-19 cases living in group housing
- Percent of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by group housing setting
- Number of facility-wide COVID-19 public health investigations
- COVID-19 vaccine doses administered by provider type
- Map of COVID-19 cases and deaths by county, census tract, municipality, school district, and zip code
- Map of COVID-19 vaccinations by county, census tract, municipality, school district, and zip code
COVID-19 case, death, and vaccination data by county, census tract, municipality, school district, and zip code are still available for download from the DHS GIS data portal. Remaining graphs from the County-Level Data page can now be found on the corresponding cases or deaths page, depending on the data within the graph. DHS made the decision to remove these visualizations after careful consideration of what metrics will be most useful to Wisconsinites as we continue through this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and a commitment to sharing reliable data with the public.
Due to the removal of the Disease Activity dashboard, DHS also updated the summary dashboard. The activity level section is now replaced with vaccination coverage percentages, and includes the percent of Wisconsin residents who have gotten a booster/additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Regardless of where Wisconsinites live, DHS recommends that everyone stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. It is also recommended that everyone continue to get tested for COVID-19 if they are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. DHS urges all Wisconsinites to continue using a combination of COVID-19 prevention strategies that will allow us to continue with our daily lives while keeping community members safe and healthy.