Milwaukee's COVID case burden, positivity highest since May

The Milwaukee Health Department (MHD) on Friday, July 23 reported worsening COVID-19 case burden trends for the preceding week – metrics reaching transmission levels not seen since May.

According to MHD, the city saw 50.7 cases per 100,000 people – nearly doubling from the previous week and moving the gating criteria back into the "substantial transmission" category. It was reported at 25.9 cases per 100,000 people the previous week.

Percent positivity also rose sharply to 5%, moving into the "moderate transmission" category. The gating criteria was reported at 3.1% the previous week.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Get breaking news alerts in the FOX6 News app for iOS or Android.

As of this week, 54.1% of Milwaukee residents 16 or older have received at least their first dose of vaccine and 50% have completed their vaccination series, MHD said.

The prevalence of the delta variant in the Milwaukee community has created an anticipated rise in positive COVID-19 cases. This variant is more transmissible than previous strains of the virus, and those who are unvaccinated are at a significantly higher risk of contraction.

"What we’re experiencing is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," said Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson. "This is the time for those who are unvaccinated to prioritize getting their COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their loved ones. We need to come together as a community and make a conscientious effort to bring these rates down with vaccinations, masking especially for those who are unvaccinated, and testing and quarantining if you experience any symptoms."

While the case data is still significantly lower than at the peak of the pandemic, the continued increase in positive COVID-19 cases is being closely monitored by the Milwaukee Health Department team, according to a news release.

COVID-19: Unvaccinated in Wisconsin are 'sitting duck'

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and the state's top health leaders on Thursday urged anyone age 12 or older who will be attending school in the fall to get vaccinated as soon as possible for COVID-19, as cases surge in the state due to the more contagious delta variant.