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Masks recommended for some in Northeast Wisconsin counties with elevated Covid community level

Posted at 10:23 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 23:29:28-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) — As of Monday, Wisconsin registered its highest seven-day average of new confirmed Coronavirus cases since February.

"We're now in another hopefully small-to-moderate-sized surge of the disease," DHS chief medical officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said.

The CDC has now labeled seven Wisconsin counties in the high Covid community level; none of those are in Northeast Wisconsin. But for people in those seven counties, the Department of Health Services is asking people to wear masks again indoors.

"People should be aware that the risk of getting exposed to the virus is much higher than it was a couple of months ago," Westergaard said.

And in Northeast Wisconsin, Brown, Winnebago, Fond du Lac, Shawano and Menominee Counties all have been upgraded to medium community levels by the CDC.

For those counties: "The recommendation for people who are high-risk for severe Covid-19 — particularly people who might be elderly or immunocompromised — the recommendation to start masking does come back again," Bellin Health Emergency Medicine Dr. Brad Burmeister said.

The DHS reports Brown County's current seven-day average of confirmed cases is at 71. That number hit 733 in early January.

"Only three people in the last 24 hours were in the intensive care unit with Covid-19," Burmeister said, according to WHA Northeast Region statistics. "And during the peak of the pandemic, it was many fold more than that."

Dr. Brian Temple at Aurora Medical Center says there hasn't been an influx of Covid patients around Oshkosh. As far as cases of Covid, he says some might not be reported.

"You have to remember that a lot of people are doing home tests," the infectious disease physician said. "So not everyone is going to show. Previously everyone was showing up to get tested."

While state health officials do warn of a more contagious disease, there are now tools like anti-viral medication

"We should feel empowered that, if and when we get exposed to the virus, there are things we can do to keep ourselves safe," Westergaard said.

As of Monday, according to the DHS, Winnebago County's seven-day average of confirmed cases sits at 59. In Fond du Lac, that number is at 35. And in Shawano County, the seven-day average of confirmed cases is just 13.