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What's going on with COVID in Marathon County
Cases, deaths and testing is surging in the county, and it's having an impact
Yesterday I went to get a COVID test, the first time I’ve felt compelled to in some time. Far too many people in my circles are starting to catch it; a little too close to home.
Of course, as a journalist I wasn’t content with that. I decided to gather some data on testing and positive case rates. It’s a bit shocking to be honest.
First off, of course, it’s good that Marathon County has a pretty robust testing program. Based on this week’s data, that’s a more than 300 test per day average. Demand is surging for the tests, says Aaron Ruff, county public health information officer. The county is meeting that demand, something that is not happening in other parts of the country.
It was also efficient: staff at the mobile site I visited told me it would take an hour. It actually took about 30 minutes to get my negative test back. Based on advice I’ve heard, I will go back for a second one after the weekend because my potential exposure was only a day before my test - people have been telling me they’ve been testing positive days after, when right after they tested negative.
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Cases are also surging right now. Stevens Point Area School District just announced it will shut down in-person classes right now in favor of e-learning. Shows I’d highlighted in our events section had to be replaced at the last minute because band members tested positive for COVID. Businesses are starting to become wary about new shutdowns, though it’s unlikely the political will is there for the kind of shutdowns we saw in March 2020.
On Tuesday, the seven-day average spiked at 194 (these are confirmed probable cases). And the trend has been moving upward since the start of fall. For those familiar with technical analysis as it relates to stocks, moving averages give a good indication of trends better than individual data points. Trend lines almost completely match up with the state.
Death rates in the county are low, but not non-existent. Over the summer, most days no one died. Now most days see at least one, if not two or three people, confirmed to have died from COVID-19. More than 80 people have died of COVID-19 since the end of November. In total, 401 have died from contracting the virus. (According to the county’s dashboard, 350 confirmed. )
Aspirus reported seeing a lot of success treating COVID with anti-body treatments, also a good news. In December the hospital reported preventing 269 hospital admissions and 54 deaths. The bad news is they’re in short supply. And in Wisconsin, 62.2% of residents are fully vaccinate; only 54.3% in Marathon County.
Anyway, consider this a source of verified information mixed with a little personal experience. As always, my goal is to share with you the facts and let you decide what to do with them.
Have you had an experience with COVID? I’ve opened up comments on this one because I want to hear your experience with COVID, whatever it is.